4/4/1999 – 8:15pm Sunday – Wow just got back from dinner, and I feel so full…I barely ate anything…what a day. I got no sleep last night for what reason I don’t know. I tossed and turned for several hours after waking up from a dream where I lost all my back teeth on the bottom left row and was trying to find a dentist….Weird but happy to say I woke up with all my teeth.
Went back to bed for about an hour and a half more when at 5:45am the alarm went off. UP and out! I checked out and off to catch the bus to the airport. I was on my way to Beijing and all the wonders it holds.
Since I was coming back to the same hotel in Hong Kong I left my biggest bag there and packed a small one for this trip. I got checked in at the airport just fine and found the gate and waited to embark. Although I’m enjoying traveling alone I am looking forward to joining the group on Thursday. I am definitely a people person. I need someone to share my experiences with. It would be great if I had a friend with me but it’s all an experience traveling alone.
The end of the flight was not good…very turbulent and I had to talk my way through it. I grabbed a barf bag in case and actually held onto it right up until I checked into my hotel…you never know.
I had to go through customs and the whole check through point telling myself I’m going to make it…hang in there. I finally got to where I picked up baggage and found a little nook where I could get to my ginger syrup and calm my stomach.
People were being pushy in Beijing, not like the smooth energy I encountered in Hong Kong, and I was feeling like I could scream…in my head I’m like “don’t push me or I will puke on you” …but of course didn’t have the energy for any of it.
By this point finally my luggage arrived. I was starting to feel OK, only O. I moved through the crowd and found my guide holding up a sign “ALBERT/JACQUELINE” of course with two first names they are never sure which is which and in China most people use their last name first.
Steven, as he introduced himself, was very nice but little did he know I was feeling so sick. The fresh air felt good as we left the airport…there seems to always be a breeze in Beijing, at least so far. He walked me to the car with a driver and loaded me in. I was somewhat starting to feel human again and starting to come back to life by asking Steven questions about himself and he of me. I asked his Chinese name, “DU WEI MIN”, which I kept having him repeat until he said it’s like the song “DOE RAE ME” then it stuck…HA.
He checked me in and I tipped the driver $2 American Dollars…no one told me what to tip and given the fact I didn’t know I probably under tipped but what can you do? After I checked in Du wanted to go over our schedule. We sat in the lobby and basically it was 2pm in the afternoon and really my tour didn’t start until tomorrow.
Du was nice enough to say he would walk me to a Museum. I told him I had to eat and put my things in my room would he care to join me for lunch? He declined but said he’d wait…seems like a nice guy. I felt bad but was grateful since I really didn’t know what to do first in Beijing. I knew I needed salt to fully develop back into a human, so Onion soup and salty fries were for lunch along with a coke, not my usual fare but given the situation it worked. I met Du around 3pm and off we went to Beijing’s “Chinese History Museum”. I was glad Du was with me because everything was written in Chinese, unlike Hong Kong, except for the sign on the public women’s bathroom – my first experience of a public bathroom…not great but not totally disgusting…put it this way no more water or beverages when leaving the hotel :O…Bathrooms have no toilet paper and basically a hole in the ground with porcelain around it and no running water except for in the sinks where you wash your hands – Thank God for Purell Packets.
It was a 10 minute walk to the museum and it was crowded on the sidewalks. Bikes, People everywhere…the museum itself was good as long as Du was with me….the lighting was horrible but I got a good idea of all the wares and items throughout the different Dynasties. The most exciting part was the walk back. Du took us on a short cut through back alleys and I got to really see the culture in action. I didn’t know what to take a picture of first? What an experience…Du walked with me most of the way but needed to take care of a few things, so I experienced Beijing alone once more. It was nice….I took a stroll back to the hotel and got in around 5pm and unpacked and read my book on Beijing. I ate some dinner and here I am. Tomorrow Du picks me up at 9:00…until then.