Well I have arrived! Yaaay me!
After just 24 hours and a hour of sleep, I arrived in at my hotel! And it started of great. Upon arrival at the airport the first obstacle was a fact… called communication. I had to get my hotel details from a really bad internet connection (since I hadn’t print it, which was a bit stupid). I thought: ‘nice just put them into Google maps and let’s go.’ But since China has Google blocked, it went a bit different as planned.
I went with the hotel address to a tourist info at the airport. They gave me a map with a highlight where the hotel should be more or less. This map was in English, so I asked if they could write the address in Chinese, but it seemed that they didn’t understand or didn’t feel like doing that. So I just went, with some good faith and the English map, in to a taxi.
When I showed the taxi driver the map… The chauffeur didn’t understand it, as I expected, and reacted a bit irritated in Chinese. With a little pointing and gestures I explained that my phone didn’t work, and that the best thing was to use his maps. He understood, gave me his phone, and I typed the easiest point near the highlighted area. And off we went!
We arrived at the place, paid and thanked him nicely, got out and thought: walk a few streets and we’re there. Not really… After 3 hours wandering around and an attempt to buy a Chinese SIM card, but the man behind the counter didn’t feel like it or the only English word he knew was no. You never know ; ). Eventually I found the hotel with some help from the home front (maps screenshots of my location to the hotel). Turned out that it was only a 30 min walk from the ‘highlighted’ spot : P
This all helped me to shift my thoughts which was nice. Since saying farewell & waving goodbye to my family & friends, was harder than I expected. Initially I didn’t really feel like saying goodbye at the airport, but some people just didn’t take no for an answer. Eventually it was actually nice in some kind of way. I think it will take some time to get used to the idea of not seeing them for an unknown time. But we will see…
See below some images from wandering around Beijing.