susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

China on my mind

After spending hours watching Sex and the City, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and The Da Vinci Code, so many films I forgot I was actually on an aeroplane, we landed in smog in Beijing. Oh, they're all the same, these international airports really, so no real feeling of being abroad - even the signs were in Chinese characters with English underneath. Very straightforward. If anything, Terminal 5 at Heathrow was more complicated and definitely uberconsumerist ..

I got a taxi outside the terminal, having had the name of the hotel written in Mandarin on my joining instructions. The pollution is pretty dreadful - I had the window open because it was very warm and humid, and it was like breathing sulphur. There are massive tower blocks everywhere, looming out of the gray atmosphere, quite a few still being built, with cranes on top of them.

This hotel, the Dongfang Hotel, is apparently the first Chinese hotel, built by and run by the Chinese in 1918, with a new tower block adjoining. The lobby and bar are splendiferous and the porters wear white gloves. I feel transported back to some parts of the 20s. Everyone is very friendly and helpful - and they speak English, though I'm trying out 'Thank you' in ghastly Mandarin ... I'm in the new bit, which looks say 20 years old - standard stuff, ensuite bathroom with hair dryer, toothbrushes, combs - oh, and just in case - a condom. Just the one ...

I'm sharing with Tina from North Yorkshire, who works for BT as a designer, but she said don't ask as it's boring. I think we've got lots of attitudes in common - wanting to be organised, instead of having to do the donkey work, and wanting to go on all and any trips and excursions.

I've had a beer in the bar with a couple also on this holiday, and meeting up with Kent (I love English Chinese names) the tour guide in half an hour.

Toodle ooo x


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