AsiaChinaBeijing

First impressions of China.

Beijing Travel Blog

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Beijing's new airport terminal.
Today we traveled from Seoul to Beijing on Asiana Airlines. The flight itself was about 1:40, but we spent so much time waiting for clearance on the ground and holding in the air that it took much longer. I napped, and skipped the meal service (beef again anyway).

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.
The terminal ceiling was very cool looking.
  So I wasn't expecting to breeze through immigration so easily! It was one of the fastest and easiest entries I have had, which is pretty amazing.

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.
Beijing airport.
.. she was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Kuwait and was schooled in Canada. She also lived in Houston for some time. I think she has a Canadian passport. She showed us around the place, which is spacious and super clean. There are two bedrooms, one bath with a laundry machine (!), a cute little kitchen, and a combined living/dining area. Sweet! We are excited to have a real "home" rather than eating out of a hot pot in a cramped hotel room.

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.
Waiting for terminal train in Beijing.
It was a huge place, and well supplied with Chinese foods, and well as a good assortment of foods in English-labeled packaging. We bought the types of things we would buy at home: veggies, fruits, cereal, bread, peanut butter. People (all local Chinese) really stared at us. As we were checking out people were craning there necks to see the odd assortment of foods we were purchasing! We were definitely the attraction of the day. 

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.
Waiting for the car to come 'round. Note the live plants in the parking gargage!
Not long into it we were laughing our butts off. Me, because my husband was over there making very Chinese-like sounds, which I found to be hilarious. And Steve was laughing at my attempts, which were not in the least bit Chinese sounding.

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!


cmgervais says:
Oh, yes, I found the fake adidas stuff yesterday. There's fake for every brand in fact -- I even saw "iPhones" and "Nanos."

In Korea I saw little "adidas" dog jackets. So cute. I wanted to pick one up for Momo, but didn't have any cash on me at the time.
Posted on: Apr 15, 2008
abuglio says:
Wow! China looks like Ikea! Keep an eye out for fake adidas stuff!
Posted on: Apr 15, 2008
sandra-kids says:
Sounds like fun learning that language, and who better to practice with than eachother :0)TOO FUN--I can see you guys cracking up too!

Nice that the weather is warming up and the fleece--cute as it is--can be packed away...we just got 12-18 inches (don't know cuz it drifted so) but this week it is melting! So, it is a nice reminder that it is indeed spring! The piles of wet/muddy laundry serve as a reminder as well-- :^D Enjoy!!
Posted on: Apr 15, 2008
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Beijings new airport terminal.
Beijing's new airport terminal.
The terminal ceiling was very cool…
The terminal ceiling was very coo…
Beijing airport.
Beijing airport.
Waiting for terminal train in Beij…
Waiting for terminal train in Bei…
Waiting for the car to come round…
Waiting for the car to come 'roun…
Our kitchen in Beijing.
Our kitchen in Beijing.
Dining room (and Blog Central).
Dining room (and Blog Central).
Living room.
Living room.
Bedroom #1.
Bedroom #1.
Bedroom #2.
Bedroom #2.
Our new best friend, the washing m…
Our new best friend, the washing …
Japanese-style sushi in Beijing.
Japanese-style sushi in Beijing.
Self portrait at Sushi Express.
Self portrait at Sushi Express.
Grocery shopping in Beijing.
Grocery shopping in Beijing.
Odd looking fruit.
Odd looking fruit.
Piles of shrimp for sale.
Piles of shrimp for sale.
Steve makes a bit of a fashion sta…
Steve makes a bit of a fashion st…
A real home-made dinner!
A real home-made dinner!
Beijing
photo by: Deats