Hello All, The final group touched down in Beijing this evening.
We left Bethel with shin deep snow (that was still coming down.) By the time we hit Boston there was nary a flake to be seen. We had a bit of time in Logan airport and time enough for a quick snack/breakfast before boarding the plane for Chicago O'Hare.
(Above: The group waiting for our flight. Below: Dawson... I think ;) )
Once we touched down in O'Hare we prepared to go looking for our departure gate. Luckily, it was right across the terminal, only 50 feet. So another meal of airport food, and ready for our 11:40 boarding time. (Below: Our plane to Beijing)
For those of you playing along at home, yes our flight did get in quite late, but what is an extra two hours on the plane? After boarding it was announced the because one of our two High-frequency Radios was off-line, we would not be able to fly the polar route and needed to be rerouted over Alaska and Siberia. So with extra time on the run way and extra airtime, our "short" 14 hour flight turned into a 16 hour event.
Once we hit the ground in Beijing, we were off and running. We breezed through customs and hit the timing right to grab our baggage and head right out the main exit into terminal 3's waiting area. There, waiting for us, was out good friend, Dachuan. He had a bus waiting and we were off. Light traffic and a nice evening combined to get us quickly to our hostel.
After a brief moment to explore our rooms and "freshen up" we headed out to Goubuli (狗不理) restaurant. Goubuli is a famous chain restaurant from Tianjin, a large city just south east of Beijing. This particular branch of the restaurant has been open since 1858. We had a wonderful dinner of Baozi (包子 a type of dumpling with a doughy wrapper) and other assorted dishes, we headed out for a walk around the newly refurbished Qianmen district.
(Above: The group with one of the dragons in front of Tong Ren Tang [同仁堂], a famous Chinese medicine clinic and apothecary , first opened in 1669 and headquartered out of the building we are standing in front of since 1702.)
We walked around until ten and then headed back to the hotel to sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I am going to be headed out for a walk at 6 am and then our day will start from there. Mao, Tiananmen, The Forbidden City and a tour of Hutongr. It is a day of the traditional side of Beijing. And now it is time for me to get to sleep to make sure I am up in time for that early morning walk!