Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beijing Haze

Before making my way to Lijiang, I spent two days in Beijing. Perhaps it was more of an excuse to get settled in a familiar place before heading out to Lijiang (I lived in Beijing for 3 years as a kid). Nonetheless, it was a great entry into my time here.

I took Hainan airlines— nonstop from Seattle to Beijing! Simply luxurious. 30+ Chinese and American movies, a whole row to myself… What happened to the days as a kid, where you could only fly from San Francisco, wait for 3 hours, fly to Tokyo, have a 4 hour layover, then finally make your way to Beijing—only to be greeted by a chaotic airport? This time, it was straight and simple, pure calm. Despite arriving mid-afternoon on a Monday, we were the only flight (or so it seemed) in the airport. I didn’t make it to the airport’s new terminal, unfortunately. Just like the airport, the streets on my way to the hostel were eerily empty. Odd. The car ban in preparation for the Olympics isn’t even fully in effect yet. I finally made it to my hostel, the Peking International Youth Hostel (of Hostelling International). It was gorgeous, cheap, friendly, clean—I recommend it to any of you who travel to Beijing.

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