We are scheduled to arrive at 16:15, clear customs and immigration and then to our hotel: Oriental Bay Hotel 011-86-10-5813-9988. After dinner, those of us who are a tad crazy, plan to head out for a walk to get the kinks out.
05Apr – Beijing arrival
Our flight from Vancouver on Air China was “interesting” and, well, long. The flight attendants were charmingly polite, the meals typical airplane food, and the beer a refreshing Beijing brand. Unfortunately, the control to work selection of the movies in our individual screens was a nightmare to operate. As a result, many of us gave up on the process entirely.
Once we landed, cleared immigration and got our luggage, we were met by Richard, our guide for the next three days. Not many people slept on the aircraft so we were a bit rough around the edges. Regardless of the lack of sleep, most of us headed out from our hotel to explore the neighbourhood and get a bit of dinner.
Five of us walked along the wide canal that is directly in front of our hotel. The rocky path meandered for kilometres and eventually turned into a lovely wide brick pathway. When we headed back toward the hotel, we chose a different path which took us to a large treed park with hundreds of exercise stations where locals were performing their nightly routines. No gym membership needed and lots of opportunity to share your day with your neighbours. Too bad it was too dark to take pictures.
After an hour’s walk, we decide to find a spot for a bowl of soup. Most of the large restaurants were brightly lit, adorned with linen tablecloths, and decorated with gold and red symbols. None of us wanted anything terribly fancy so we wanted up a neighbourhood street. Along the way, a young woman overheard our conversation and asked if we need help finding a restaurant. Her English was quite good and her offer was just what we needed. She took us a few blocks into her neighbourhood and recommended a local spot that was clean and had good sweets and soup. At the restaurant, we thanked her and in we went. Once inside we realized we’d have a great deal of difficulty ordering. No pictures on the menu, no one spoke English and it was a place where you ordered at a counter. I suppose she might have been watching us from outside because the next thing we knew, she was back with us and said, “I thought you might need some help ordering.” She ordered us each a very large bowl of noodle soup and selected some sweets. Our total bill was the equivalent o f $12CAD, so $2.40each. What a lovely way to start of trip ... her kindness was very sweet.