Wow, Week two is over. I had planned to spend a large part of today updating the site, perhaps posting pictures.... but I got a headache... a big one. It not only kept me from going shopping, but also kept me off the computer. Instead of going into a lot of details, I will instead give you some thoughts from when I first left the US and arrived in Beijing. With the internet issues and my schedule, I haven't had time to post them before now. This covers the flight and my arrival in Beijing.
Flying to Beijing
If you are reading this, I must have arrived in Beijing, buty this entry, I am typing from the flight from Washington D. C. Dulles to Beijing. Much to my surprise, I was upgraded to business class which makes a huge difference. The seats recline almost horizontal, I have a cool personal video display which I can control, and the food is pretty good.
The video display has a map that shows me where we are, the route, and some relevant statistics. It is hard to believe, but it has been 9 hours, 52 minutes since departure. Only 3 hours until arrival. Currently we are flying over Russia, but getting close to the border with Mongolia.
After leaving Dulles, I quickly fell asleep. I woke up long enough to eat, but for most of the first 6 hours of the flight, I was asleep. I woke up long enough to note that we flew due North, and at one point were very close to the North Pole.
Leaving was hard. I have been so busy over the past six months, I haven't had the time to really do the things that would allow me to get excited about this trip. (For example, reading my books about China, planing places to tour, etc) Within a day or so (perhaps hours) I will be excited and ready to embrace this experience. Right now, I am still well aware of what I am leaving behind.
Evening in Beijing
It is now 11:00 PM in Beijing, China. I haven't yet got internet access in my room, but I wanted to type something up anyway.
Wow. I wish that I could have just recorded everything I saw and heard to play back. My broad opinion is as follows, it is not as foreign as I had expected. It is not just the prevalence of English or Western stores, it is also the big city attitude, the clothes, the attitudes of the people. I definitely feel as if I am in a foreign city, but it doesn't seem as foreign as I expected. Perhaps being in Dublin so recently has something to do with it.
Thankfully I got some sleep on the plane, so I wasn't completely sleep deprived, but I wasn't at my best either. Arriving in China posed no real problems. There are three steps: Quarantine (to look at and see if you said you were healthy), Immigration (Where they look at your passport and visa), and customs, (where you declare anything you are bringing into the country.)
From there, it took a bit of wandering to find the ISU folks. Having a bit of time before the bus arrived, I went to get a drink and perhaps some food (even though I wasn't hungry), My options were Starbucks and KFC Express. I settled for water and an egg sandwich from Starbucks. I only ate about 1/3 of the sandwich.
From there began the ISU experience. Meeting fellow classmates. I was really impressed with those with enough excitement and energy to run around introducing themselves to everyone. I talked to whomever I was near, but I didn't have the energy to implement a broader effort.