Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sunday, April 24th. Beijing.

These posts are backdated as we were not able to log onto blogspot while in Beijing. The Great Firewall of China is apparently not a fan of blogging!

So we landed safe and sound in Beijing. The flight was ok as far as can be expected. I was impressed by the airport in that it was very English friendly and easy to navigate.

Catching a cab was an interesting experience. It was immediately clear that the driver did not speak any English (fair enough!) but we had printed out our hotel address on a piece of paper in both Mandarin characters and English. Upon providing him with the piece of paper, there was an exchange of nods and we were off!

It took us about 90 minutes to reach our hotel in fairly heavy traffic. Most of the journey was on the motorway and there were a number of accidents to be seen on the side of the road on the way. Driving here is very aggressive and it is not at all uncommon for 2 cars to try to squeeze ahead of each other side by side in a single lane. Oh yes, and if you run out of lanes, just use the hard shoulder!

We were very pleased when we got to our hotel. It seems to be in a pretty (comparatively) pedestrianized area. Checking in was a little difficult, not because of any language issues, but because just as we got to the check-in counter a paid lobby performer started belting out some classical piano pieces not ten feet from where we were standing.  Consequently my exchange with the reception desk lady proceeded just as you would expect it to if there had been a language barrier - plenty of loud talking and numerous requests for each other to repeat themselves. Ha!!

Tomorrow we are off to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City. We will take lots of pictures!  

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