Woah. I feel like I have gotten to know some airports and planes quite well. I almost have the Delta safety schpell memorised. This trip (IAD- LAX-BJN-MNL), though, I flew United and China airlines. United has more space, but they did not offer any snacks. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocal made up for the lack of food.
Air China, which I flew from LAX to Beijing and then Beijing to Manila, was okay. Everyone had a personal TV, but the movie selection was mainly Chinese and Japanese movies and the food was terrible. There are only so many oily entrees I can eat with stale bread. I did my duty though and cleared the plate… Thanks for the childhood “clean your plate” conditioning, dad (I’ll never forget those caveat pies).
I had a thirteen hour lay-over in Beijing and after waiting in a terribly long line I emerged onto the streets of the 2008 Olympic city. Actually, I met a nice Chinese girl who was living in England and waited for the airport shuttle with her in Starbucks. A cappuccino cost me 30 CNY. The airport was filled with business men– tall, fat, Dutch, Italian, you name it. I cannot help but think it is so cliché all of the men in their suits coming to China to check on exports or manufacturing companies. Yet, that is the globalized world in which we live. Note: I did not see any women dressed in business attire. Only older Chinese women on the flights.
Back to Bejing. So, the city is pretty hard to get around if you are using a map with no scale nor correct road signs. I had planned to see the Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City, but got to lost and then fixated on trying some local grub; therefore, I did not explore either sites. As predicted by those who know me well, I thought it would be an excellent idea to try as many new food items as possible. I found a local lunch restaurant (at first I thought it was a clothing shop) with some rice and noddle dishes. I ordered a plate full of vegetables and mystery items and this tan, plasticy thing and then tan spongy thing that came in it. All the greens were amazing, but the brown, gelatinous chunks were not to my liking. I tried some seeds covered with fennel and some vacuumed seaweed concoction. All the grocery stores reveal a Chinese love for things vacuum sealed. Hm.
I exchange $40 and so I had a handful left by the time I got to the airport. There was really only one thing I wanted to do as a sleep-deprived muscle-covered gal: eat my way through the airport. Sadly, I did not experience as much of a food coma as I had anticipated because the Yeng I had left did not go
Being in China makes me realise that it would be very convenient to know Chinese because not many people speak English. Trying to get around Beijing makes me truly appreciate the English spoken in the Philippines and the little bit of French I knew for Haiti.
Lots of people were staring at me as I walked though the city. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was a blond alone or if it was my lack of bra…. or if it was my outfit (very colorful, floral dress with a long sleeve shirt and flip-flops). Actually, a lot of people keep staring at my feet. I think they were shocked that I was wearing flip-flops in this weather or they didn’t think that flip-flops were stylish (?).