Woke up to thunder and lightning around 4:30 this morning and finally crawled out of bed about 5 o’clock. Made some oatmeal and then got showered and the last things in the suitcase. Was still raining off and on when I left the house at 7:15. Made it over to Jerry’s just after 8. Jerry’s neighbor Jackie took us to the airport. Upon check in we found our flight was delayed about 40 minutes. We met Jerry’s friends, Doug and Nanci, at the gate. The flight out of Chicago to Beijing was also delayed about the same so after about a one hour delay out of Chicago we were finally on our way by about 2pm. Our flight was on a 747 slated for retirement in the next couple of months. So being an older plane it didn’t have the up to date in seat entertainment that newer planes have. Fortunately I had my iPad loaded with shows and a few magazines to occupy the 13 hour flight. Also caught maybe an hour of sleep.
Due to the delay, or maybe not, we arrived in Beijing around 4pm on Wednesday afternoon along with a few other planes so it then took some time to filter through immigration, make our way through the terminal, find our bags and make our way outside. We found our local representative who directed us to our shuttle bus. Despite only being about a 17 mile drive to the hotel the driver said it would take about an hour. Well with the rush hour traffic and torrential rain that would take place it took about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the hotel. We were greeted by our tour guide for the trip, Jack Du.
Originally we had planned to explore the area a bit and find some dinner outside the hotel but Jack advised to stay in the hotel as no one outside would speak English. Turned that didn’t really make much difference as the hotel staff didn’t speak English either. After a bit of struggle we managed to order a couple of beers and some dishes to share (a barbecue platter of chicken, pork and goose and a lemon chicken dish). Neither were particularly good.
And finally with that day, one came to an end and we turned in for the night after a long day of travel. We made it!