First impressions of China.
Beijing Travel Blog› entry 29 of 251 › view all entries
April 14th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
We landed at Beijing's new terminal which opened less than one month ago - WOW! This is a gorgeous bit of architecture. It claims to be the biggest airport in the world, and I certainly believe it. It's enormous and soaring. Everything is gleaming and empty, waiting for the Olympic crowds.
I read on the Fodor's site that the Fodor's China books were being confiscated at entry because the map does not show Taiwan as being part of China. I had also read about thorough searches being conducted.
Our driver was waiting at the exit holding huge sign with my name. What a nice way to enter a country... escorted by someone who knows where he is going! The drive was nothing like I expected. Yes, the pollution was so thick you could cut it with a knife. But there were nice trees and other plantings along the way, and a very nice highway system. Save for the haze it was like driving in Indiana or something.
He took us to the apartment we are renting here, where we met the apartment owner/manager, Angela. She owns several apartments and rents them out to vacationers. Very entrepreneurial! She is not Chinese.
We quickly went out to find some food. Although this district is supposed to be "sizzling" with restaurants, bars, and all sorts of nightlife, we seem to be in the suburbs. We walked to a nearby shopping area and ate sushi at a conveyor-belt style restaurant like they have in Japan. Then we went to Carrefour super market to stock the kitchen.
Back at the room, we proceeded to wash everything we own. Never underestimate the convenience of a washing machine! Then we sat down with Survival Chinese to learn a bit of the language. Yikes - Chinese makes Japanese seem like child's play. There are many sounds, very guttural, that I just can't make. Steve is a musician and can hear and mimic sounds better than I with my tin ear.
We opted to stay in for dinner and just chill in our place. I dirtied every dish in the place, cooking up spicy bean curd (they had a huge selection of tofu things at the market!), brussels sprouts and a salad. Steve wasn't a fan of the bean curd and made a ham sandwich (Hormel!).
Tomorrow we will explore our area (hopefully finding our way OUT of the suburbs!) and get the lay of the land. We have two weeks here -- plenty of time to see Beijing's many, many sites!
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