Travel to Beijing sights sounds and smells and we are not even there.
Today was a bit of a lost cause we had to check out at 1100 but didn’t fly out until 1910. So we relaxed in the room and took advantage of the late checkout and then walked the 10 minutes over to KL Sentral for lunch. Returned to pick up our bags and then head off to the airport via train. The KLIA Express line is really fast only 30 minutes to the airport and $100 ringgit for the 4 of us.
Didn’t appreciate how big a carrier Air Asia was, nearly the whole KLIA2 is dedicated to this airline. Anyway had plenty of time and got changed as we knew it was going to be cold in Beijing. Checked in and found departure gate. Had a bit of free WiFi time. Gate opened, waited for the queue to ease and then lined up. This middle aged lady in front of us decided to break wind, well we didn’t hear her (Spring thinks she did and she would be at the right height) but we definitely smelt her and it was ripe. We had a little fart joke amongst the family as that is the level of humour we were at, at that moment. Well everyone does enjoy a fart joke but this turned ridiculous on the plane, the first 2 hours of the flight the lady must have been near us and spreading her lovely odour amongst other travellers. If the one in the queue brought tears to our eyes then these ones on the plane would have made an onion cry it was horrendous.
On the flight the smell did go but the noise didn’t there is definitely no volume control with some of the passengers truly amazing how loud everyone speaks. Then the snorting of one’s nose and clearing of throat then spitting remains into plastic bags was truly gold, then another person happily clipping their finger nails on the plane. All of this behaviour maybe not done by us but is sort of OK in someone’s eyes. The biggest issue so far is the invasion or awareness of ones personnel space that we had trouble coming to terms with on this flight. Any way 6 hour flight went pretty quick plenty of sites, sounds and smells. Got off to -9 degrees at Beijing international airport at 0130, cleared customs and then had to wait for the first train at 0630. Suffice to say I am typing this really tired right now. Summer is sleeping on the bench and the kids are playing Uno actually they are starting to go a little crazy and running around the airport trying to beat each other up. Currently have 2 more hours for the train. Might try and get my and the girls head down for a couple hours sleep. Peace out and welcome from Beijing.
Beijing is Cool
Really it is literally and figuratively. We caught the 0635 train from Beijing International Airport to Dongzhimen and then changed to Qianmen. This was relatively easy as I suspect we missed the peak hour rush. Qianmen stop also happens to be the stop for Tianan’men Square – pretty cool. It was also – 9 degrees when we left the station – pretty cool. We were at Qianmen by 0730 and walking the streets aimlessly. We had a rough idea were the accommodation was but without English street signs or free WiFi we were like a dear with no eyes. Started to ask the locals if they knew the location of the place. Was quite surprised that even though the language barrier was massive we were able to get people to help us. In the end we borrowed some young girls WiFi and navigated our way to the hotel.
We were 200metres from the place just on the wrong block and the security guard saw us pass by 3-4 times and we did ask him to help originally and I was a little dark at him even though he had no English and we didn’t know Chinese. Any way finally got to the hotel at 0915 and thawed out we were even more surprised that the staff allowed us to check in at this time, so we did and feel asleep very quickly, little Spring had the most sleep on the plane and only slept for 30 minutes so I took her for a walk around the local. I think it was about -4 degrees but OK in the sun for minus temps. Walked out and could see how close we were to Tianan’men and the Forbidden City. Returned to the room and woke Autumn and Summer after an hour of sleep.
We went and grabbed some really really good Chinese for lunch and then walked the streets. We were blown away that we were staying in one of the oldest parts of Beijing Dashilan St and walking the streets with hardly any western tourists truly awesome.
The history, the architecture, everything was just blowing our minds. Then we walked through Tianan’men Square to the Forbidden City. We really couldn’t contain ourselves at how cool it was to be in Beijing at that moment. The whole family was appreciating the history, sculptures and shear enormity of the place and made us realise that what we are doing for the year is really awesome at this point in time. The only down side is we weren’t prepared for it to be this cold. I have 1 fleecy Kathmandu jacket and so I have to layer my clothing, we have all bought gloves and Autumn needed a beany at the local market and don’t expect to keep them after the stint in Beijing. Any way that is enough whinging from me because I really shouldn’t, we have arranged a tour of the Great Wall tomorrow so I will have an early night tonight and look forward to briefing you all on the Great Wall experience tomoz. Can’t wait.