In Tokyo waiting on our Beijing flight.
All we could think of last night as the plane came in for a landing in Beijing was getting to our hotel, taking a hot shower and changing out of these clothes we have traveled in! I forgot to pack Viv a change of clothes to change in Japan. Steven and I changed in Tokyo. When we arrived in Beijing we stood in line to get our bags….after everyone had claimed theirs and we were the ONLY ones standing there…we quickly realized that our luggage was not going to be coming down the conveyor belt. We must have looked sad standing there waiting there by ourselves staring at the empty luggage belt….a security guard took pity on us and showed us where the lost luggage office is. This was not a good sign. Apparently, when we were delayed in Atlanta, our luggage did not get on our plane to Japan. It is coming on the plane tonight (supposedly) and should arrive at the hotel around 12-1a.m.
So, we walked out the gate and found our driver. We tried, very unsuccessfully, to explain to him that our luggage was lost and would he please take us to a store. He kept saying hotel, so we figured out fairly quick that we were going to the hotel. Michael, our guide, is not here yet. He is with another family in another province and will not be in Beijing until tomorrow to help us. We got to the hotel ok. I am so glad I packed my carryon in case our luggage got lost. Even though I changed in Japan, I had two total sets (of dirty by now) clothes and Steven had two full sets of clothes too. Poor Viv, she only had the clothes on her back that she had been in for 24 hours. I washed out our dirty traveling clothes in the tub and hung them up to dry. Viv got a good kick out of using the blowdryer to dry some of the clothes we were going to wear to bed. We didn’t have any pajamas and it was quite hilarious to see the random bits of clothes we pieced together to sleep in. We all took showers and went straight to bed. By that time it was 1:30 in the morning here.
This morning, we got up and went to breakfast. I was the adventurous one by trying mushrooms, cabbage, fried rice and bacon. Steven and Vivian were not so — eating bacon, pancakes and sausage. We exchanged some money at the hotel and struck out shopping. In case our luggage did not make it on the flight from Atlanta to Tokyo to Beijing tonight, I wanted pajamas and Viv needed a full set of clothes including shoes.
It was fun and interesting to shop. I did not really think I would find anything that would fit me. From my experience in the Philippines, I knew that the clothes here would be small. I ended up buying a couple shirts in the Philippines and they were XL and XXL. I did find a nightgown. That was a funny experience. They had flannel pajama sets but they had a mandarin collar and the top went down to your knees over the pants. I knew I would probably strangle myself trying to sleep in those. So, I asked for a nightgown. I didn’t look to close at what she gave me. I just knew it was a lot less expensive than the stuff I had looked at and it was lighter than flannel. It is warm in the hotel, so I did not want to sweat. Here is my pretty nightgown:
My favorite part in the whole exchange was, the lady realized that our bags were lost because for Viv I picked out socks, underwear, pajamas, a coat, shoes and a set of clothes. So, she picked up a pair of underwear intended for me and stretched them as wide as she could get them and said: See, BIG! And then pulled it the other way and showed me again how BIG they are…I was trying not to laugh. It was very funny. How big does she think I am anyway? So, I am now the owner of a pair of BIG underwear. They are interesting, to say the least. LOL. Vivian, my child who wears gloves in the summer if there is a slight breeze, was not happy with her coat. We bought her a warmer purple coat with a fur trimmed hood, that buttoned over her face and some gloves. Our gloves and scarves are packed in our luggage. I didn’t feel like fooling with all of that on the plane.
When walking around, I find it is similar to the Philippines in that everyone has a job. There are uniformed people/workers everywhere. There were even little chihuahuas with a vest on in the garden. Not sure what their job was exactly. They did bark at the passing people. If I get a chance, I will take a picture of them. I could not read (obviously) what their vest said. Talking about pictures, we stopped in front of the mall sign because Viv wanted to take a picture with Steven and the guard waved us away and told us to keep going. So, I am not sure if the problem was that we stopped to take the picture and we are not supposed to stop on the walkway, or if we were not supposed to take pictures in that area…who knows?
Oh, and my most interesting experience was getting on the plane to Beijing. We boarded the plane, put our stuff in the overhead compartment and sat down in our seats. We dispensed of our business fairly quickly. We were done and seated in less than two minutes? That gave us plenty of time to watch the pandemonium…wow…apparently Chinese people really like duty free shopping in the airport. When people started boarding, in these tiny narrow aisles, not only did they walk up the aisle, but they walked backwards against the flow of oncoming passengers, back and forth. We had people walking up and down pushing against each other, trying to stuff their 12 bags each into the overhead compartment and when one was full, they would move further down the aisle and find an empty compartment and stow some stuff and IF THEY HAD MORE, they would move even farther down the aisle and stuff more of their bags there. So, that caused people to move around all over. I was smacked in the head a few times. I started getting used to the lack of personal space when boarding the plane…I kept getting almost pushed in the back. One lady was right up against me almost. There is definitely no such thing as a personal bubble here. When sitting there watching all of this take place, definitely fascinating, I had backpacks, bags and various pieces of anatomy in my face and lap just about the whole time we were boarding (note to future travelers, don’t sit on the aisle seat when traveling with Asians). The stewardesses were pushing up and down the aisle, grabbing people and making them take some of their larger bags to the front to be checked by the valet service. One gentleman was determined to get his oversized pull suitcase into the overhead bin, he pushed, pulled, prodded, (and this did NOT hold up foot traffic, they pushed right on by him) until finally the stewardess grabbed his arms and said something sternly (which was probably something to the effect of: You are not going to get that big suitcase in that little bin go check it at the valet service) because he finally admitted defeat and pulled it out and brought it to the front to be checked. The stewardesses bustled about pushing people into their seats and we were almost late for takeoff because of all the movement. The only thing I could think of is that Asian people are generally small, so they are used to being able to squeeze past someone. I would not have done it. I would have waited until the person moved. But they squeezed past people like it was no big deal…back and forth. And even after all the duty free shopping that took place at the airport, there was plenty MORE going on during the plane trip. The stewardesses were up and down the aisle with all the duty free stuff bagging things left and right for passengers. It was definitely interesting to watch.
Signing off for now. It is Thanksgiving Day here…Happy Thanksgiving! While pausing to give thanks, I am thankful for arriving here in one piece and that we will get our babies this Sunday. I am also thankful for family, friends and loved ones. Without all of you, we would not be here. We have felt the love and support all the way over here in China.
We are going to go out later this afternoon in search of somewhere nice to eat to spend Thanksgiving together. I will try to blog once, if not twice, every day. Steven also just set my phone up to be able to blog from it. So, I might post some quick pics or quick blog posts. I am forever seeing something interesting…so…I just might snap a few to share with you! I made a category that says “In China”, so if you want to filter the posts to only see our in China travel, click on that category.