I’ve never been one to journal my every move, but I’ve decided that this trip to China is something I want to remember forever. So here goes…
4/13/14 – Sunday 9:00 am
Rochester International Airport: We are about to embark on a very long journey to Beijing with a short layover in Detroit. The longest flights I’ve taken were 2 back-to-back 10-hour flights when my family traveled to Australia – I was 12. We are flying directly over the North Pole today and it should take roughly 14 and a half hours. We land in Beijing at 2:20pm. I am very nervous to fly. It’s actually kind of funny because my brother is a pilot.
4/13/14 – Sunday 12:15 pm
First flight went okay. We are now boarding for Beijing. I’m feeling uneasy and excited. Hopefully this will be the fastest 14.5 hours of my life. Peace out USA!
4/14/14 – Monday 2:07pm – China Time/ 2:07am Sunday USA time
Ready to land in Beijing! That was rough. I don’t remember traveling hurting my body so much. Not only am I exhausted, but my knees, hips, and ankles are killing me. It’s going to be okay though because I’ll be up and walking around soon. Traveling over the International Date Line makes me feel like I’m in the twilight zone. I can’t believe I’ve been on this plane for so long. I am happy and excited to be here. Yay!
4/14/14 – Monday 9:30pm
We checked in to the Cui Ming Zhuang Hotel, which means The Jade Garden Hotel – an awesome location within walking distance to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The air quality here right now is poor – almost as if a misty blanket is covering all that is Beijing City. If you find yourself near 5-10 trees in one central location, you can breathe a little easier for a second. I never knew that photosynthesis would be something I could actually feel and sense with my own body.
We ventured down to what looks like the “Times Square” of Beijing. It’s a pedestrian street with many large shops, restaurants, and markets. There is so much to look at here – the culture, fashion, food, and even the architecture is really unique. Exactly how you would envision it. We walked by the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, but didn’t stop for long, because we have a tour planned at both these locations in a few days.
Next it was dinnertime. We ate across the street at a wonderful restaurant. They have amazing Chinese food – or what they here call just food. Dinner was an unfamiliar experience. The plates are very small – about the size of a tea saucer. The meal was served family style with many large dishes from which we could serve ourselves – no serving utensils, though, just chopsticks. Here it is either learn how to eat with chopsticks quickly or starve. Chopsticks take practice, but I enjoyed it. I ate a lot slower and in turn it felt better on my body. Everyone seemed a bit clumsy with our first family style dinner. After all, we don’t exactly eat like this in the United States. We passed food around the table over and over again.
I am so exhausted now – full, content, and happy.
Tomorrow we are off to the Great Wall! I am so blessed to be here – my face hurts from smiling.
(see photos below!)