Friday, October 30, 2009

In China - Finally...

There are four of us in this travel party - me, Joseph, his Mom (Mom) and my friend H who is of Chinese descent but born in New Jersey and raised in Ohio by immigrants who fled the Communist tide.

China is 12 hours of ahead of Boston. This weekend, when the clocks are turned back, we will be 13 hours ahead. Which always begs the question of WHY OH WHY do we still manipulate our clock times? Especially when you consider that in spite of having 4 or 6 time zones, China uses only one. But I digress.

The flight to China was uneventful. We landed yesterday and took a long bus ride to the hotel. It looked like we drove on a non-descript highway with non-descript traffic in almost-any-town,USA. A guide named Susan and a driver met us with a chartered bus at the airport. It was a long drive to the hotel.

At the hotel, the guide collected our passports, just like every other tour I've been on, and checked us into our rooms. The Presidential Hotel Beijing is a typically American looking hotel with typically American looking rooms on the small-ish side. I guess it's expected since Chinese people are on the smaller side of the American norm.

The room was good, but no cot! In fact, there was a crib. GAH! 8 year olds do not need cribs. However there was no coffee maker! What the heck?? But there was an array of teas and a hot water boiler pot which boils water in nanoseconds. Amazing! We brought the VIA instant coffee from Starbucks with us. All they have here is Nescafe. I didn't know they even made it still!

Last night after checking in, we were road worn and tired. So, we had dinner at a restaurant called Sophia's here in the hotel. We can tell right away how different Chinese Chinese food is compared to American Chinese food! It was fabulous! Mom (Joe's) did great with the fried rice and an array of vegetable stir fries. :o) That is after my friend H tried to tell her what to order which I could tell annoyed the hell out of Mom. And then we told her to stop and she got all bent out of shape. Well, Joe's Mom is a very capable person and she knows what she wants and doesn't want. And No.... she does not come barefoot out of the hills, nor is is ignorant! Anyway, I chocked it up to everyone being tired.

In a single day, I could tell you the party line. The Chinese people look at me and speak Chinese. They all look at Joseph and speak English! LOL! I was very proud to have helped one woman in the group ask the bellboy where the bathroom is. Thanks to Li Laoshi and all her hard work in making us remember our tones! LOL! That "C" sound in Chinese is very hard!

So, the flight was uneventful other than my confirmed suspicion that coach class sucks and next time, were upgrading to business class. :o) Yes. There is going to be a "next time."

Today is sight seeing day.
And I will take lots of pictures!
I love my camera.

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