Date: May 9, 2015
Written by: Carmen Margetts
Buec 444/648 met at the airport early on Friday morning, 5:30am. Large groups are always interesting travel partners because it seems every employee is daunted by our appearance, but we checked in and boarded our long flight to Beijing without incidence.
The flight was great with little turbulence (thank goodness), lots of food (airline meals :/), and some much needed napping. And so it was that we arrived in Beijing around noon on Saturday May 9th. It took us about 1hr to organize our group with new Chinese SIM cards and collect our bags. The SIM cards were the time consuming part.
Customs was nonexistent and we walked straight out to meet Lynn (Dong Lynn) our travel guide. 45min bus ride to the hotel highlighted by quips from Lynn about architecture and culture, quick check in and 20min turn around meant we were leaving Traders hotel for dinner at 6:30pm, exhausted, but standing.
We had dinner at Jin Ding Xuan which consisted of eight Chinese dishes and the tired first use of Chinese style toilets for many of us. Not as hard as it looks if you have the squat strength required to support your weight. After dinner we took our bus to the Hao Hai District. The lake is the focal point of this area with shops, restaurants (belting out live music with hustlers trying every form of persuasion to get you to go in), and vendors surrounding it. It has a very carnival feel with bright lights and throngs of people.
We had only 45 min to tour the district, but we were all happy enough to be back on the bus for another nap at 9:30pm and even happier when we returned to our hotel and climbed into bed at 11pm. With a good nights sleep we are now ready for the Great Wall tomorrow.