Sunday, January 15, 2017

Settled in Beijing

So excited to meet his sister!

Posting this a few days late, as we now have decent internet access...

We are in Beijing! Everything has gone pretty smoothly so far. Our flight into Oakland on Monday night was delayed, but we were still able to meet up with Morgan for dinner and then crash at our hotel. We landed in China Wednesday afternoon after a long 12 hour flight, and Jonas was amazing. He watched various movies on the iPad, played with some toys, and finally fell asleep right as we were landing! No meltdowns or tears (from any of us) yet!

After passport control, getting our luggage, customs, and a 30 minute taxi ride, we finally arrived at our super cute lodging, the Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel. It’s hidden down a little neighborhood alley, but we can walk to lots of shops and restaurants and the subway. Jonas slept on a chair in the lobby while we checked in. This place is very cool with authentic furnishings, lanterns, and really helpful employees. Zack, Jonas, and I are in the honeymoon suite, which means our bed is like a fancy fort. 

Morgan and I went on a food run while Zack stayed with Jonas, who was still passed out. Zack wanted McDonald’s (weirdo!), so we stopped there first and tried to use the cool touchscreen ordering system. We failed when it came to the payment options, so we ended up ordering the regular way in the end. Across the street was a Chinese chain restaurant called Mr. Lee’s, where I got a beef noodle bowl that hit the spot. It was kind of like fast, fancy ramen. 

After a quick dinner, we crashed in bed. We were SO tired! It hasn’t been the best night of sleep, but it wasn’t terrible either. Jonas woke up several times (as did we), including once when he was really hungry. After a banana and Clif bar, he went back to sleep. At around 2am, I gave Jonas a child dose of melatonin (judge away!), and I took some melatonin gummies myself. We got a couple more hours of sleep after that as a result, but we’ve all been wide awake since 4:45am. Now the goal is to stay awake all day! 

So far from what we can tell, Beijing is similar in some ways to some other Asian cities we’ve been to. It actually reminded us a lot of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan as we were riding to the hotel…the buildings, color of the air (smoggy gray), etc. There are lots of motor scooters and bikes, like in Vietnam, but because it’s colder here, people either wear very large gloves or these snuggie-type contraptions on their hands and arms. Near where we’re staying, there’s a street with food vendors selling interesting items like bugs on a stick, similar to Cambodia, so we hope to check that out some evening. The various little shops on some streets remind me of Nepal, and the accepted pushiness to get on a crowded elevator or in line is like India. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see the differences as we explore the city more.
The airport was very large and impressive; we heard lots of that was because of the Olympics being here. The number of buildings is incredible. Think of New York City times two. And of course there are tons of people, although I don’t think we’ve witnessed some of the crazily crowded areas yet. The smog is noticeable, but not stifling, at least not yet. The sunset was actually quite pretty because of the haze!

Thanks for all your kind messages, prayers, and thoughts of us as we’ve started our adventure! Lots more to come…

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