Sunday, April 26, 2009

We've made it into Beijing!

After a long 16.5 hour (total) flying time we finally arrived safely in Beijing. The flight from Ottawa to Vancouver came up to a total of 5.5 hours and the flight from Vancouver to Beijing was a total of 11 hours. I was expecting them to be a whole lot worse. The first flight wasn't so bad but the second one was long. They had the same selection of movies/tv shows/music available. That got boring and fast but at least they were good movies. I also have to mention that the scenery when flying around BC is amazing! The mountains and frozen streams were gorgeous.

The wait at the Ottawa airport was excruciatingly long but we did manage to beat a band class through the security checkpoint. It was neat to see the sunrise from the airport. There was also the added bonus that the airline transferred our baggage in Vancouver for us! Which turned out to be fantastic since we only had an hour and a half of waiting time. It also turned out to be rather simple (and easy) to find the international departures. To get into the terminal there was a security guard waiting to see our boarding passes, naturally we gave it to him with our passports. He looked at it, nodded and checked some papers before telling us that the flight to Beijing is canceled. Kev and I both stared at him in shock and echoed "What?" together while the guard just nodded and repeated it. We stared silent for a moment before he smiled and told us that he was joking. After finding out which terminal we had to go to I was able to appreciate his joke. I believed him and I was ready to ask when the next flight would be because we were insured if this were to ever happen. We made it in 15 minutes and had plenty of time to grab some food before our next flight left.

The airport in Beijing is huge. We had to take a train to reach the luggage claims (that confused us at first but we decided to follow the crowd). Once we had our bags we were ready to find a taxi, which turned out to be another little hike (2 flights of stairs, sort of…) It was surprisingly easy since there was a man there delegating the taxis and new comers looking for taxis.
Traffic in Beijing is interesting. Our taxi driver kept driving into bike lines while the people riding the bikes would simply bike around him. If he wanted to pass a car on the express way and couldn't he simply drove between both cars. They also love to honk their horns, a lot. We did make it to the hostel safely with no problems or complications. The cab fare turned out to be cheaper than anticipated too! He was an awesome driver, he looked at the address once and didn't have to recheck it.

Our hostel is a decent place. A twin room with shared washrooms down the hall. The beds are rather comfortable (there's even a pillow and linen). When you first walk into the hostel, depending on the door you take there's either a bird with the bar or some goldfish with the reception. It's a really nice place with some really friendly staff. The halls all smell citrusy. Its awesome. The showers look great too.

Once we got ourselves settled into our room (which didn't take long) we went out to explore some of the nearby streets. Mostly we were hungry and wanted some food. We ended up going to this restaurant and ordered some traditional style Pekking roast duck. There were even goldfish on the table! The waitresses spoke very little English so there was a lot of pointing and phrasebook usage. Once we received the duck she explained how to eat it in Mandarin while pointing and demonstrating what to do. We tried dipping some of the skin in what appeared to be sugar (which tasted awesome). As we were eating those slices the chef was busy slicing up the rest of the duck for us. They brought out these mini pancake things, some thinly sliced cucumbers (we think) and onions. There were also two containers with some dark sauce. Kevin stared to dip the duck in the sauce and eat it like that while I frantically searched my phrasebook to ask about the pancakes. While we were doing this the entire staff kind of just stared at us eat and finally one of the waitresses grabbed my chopsticks and showed us how to properly eat the duck. They then went back to staring at us eat. After a bit I finally said that it was really good and they left us alone. They still found some reason to walk by and stare, it was pretty funny.

There was way too much duck for us to eat and it didn't help that we were both feeling queasy from the lack of sleep and proper nutrition. By that time it was almost 6 in the evening so we went back to the hostel to relax and gather energy for tomorrow. For those of you who are curious Beijing is 12 hours a head of Ottawa time. I plan on blogging at night while I'm here so you should expect updates in the morning for when I do update the blog.

All in all, everything's great. Beijing's a huge, gorgeous city. I can't wait to go explore some more.

Photo time!

Here's a picture of the hostel we're staying in. I found that I can get the best reception in the bar.

Pekking Duck. Kev and I had this for diner. The red shavings in the back is the shaved duck while the other longer dark thing is part of the duck's head. We didn't eat it, or even touch it.

The cute little goldfish on the table. They took ours away when they seated us.

This is just a pretty typical scene that you see here. Earlier we saw this one guy with tons and tons of bottles piled up in crates on the back of his bike.


  1. Vama-chan! Even though I'm pretty much half around the world, I welcome you to Beijing!!! XD It's nice to know the hostel is that nice and that you're comfortable there. What does its name mean?
    It must've been weird to eat with all those people staring :P If I ever go abroad, I guess I'll need to learn how to use chopsticks, huh? :D
    Take more photos!!!!
    By the way, if a guard had made that joke to me, I'd have fainted first and then hit him with something heavy when I woke up. Of course that'd lead to my imprisonment and/or my immediate deportation, so maybe I shouldn't do that if it ever happens... Hmmm... I'll think about it... XD
    Hugs from Argentina!!!!

  2. Eeee, duck bill! 8D Lol, your table manners must seem terrible to them, I'll bet.

    Pillows and linens? Wow! I'm really glad, actually, that's a great start to the trip! Try to post a photo of the room, m'kay? I'm curious! The hostel I stayed in on the way to Mt Takao was in an old japanese house, and Laura and I shared a king-sized futon, it was very comfy. Unfortunately, it had japanese sliding doors, which the owner's cat had learned to open, and he kept waltzing in like he owned the place (which, I suppose, he did). Weird cat.

    I would have punched that security guard. Arg.

  3. ps: How bored was Kevin on the flight? I laugh at the very thought!

  4. Eni: I'm not sure what the hostel name means... but it's a nice place so that's all that really matters. Unless it's "rob you while you sleep" inn or something...
    Chopsticks are very good to know how to use here. Being arrested/deported would really suck but luckily not all guards are like that.

    Nora: Yes, pillows and linens. It's that awesome. I'll see about posting a picture of the room tomorrow. There's nothing wrong with the owners cat claiming the room for his own. =P You were invading his/her territory.

    Uhm, I don't think he was that bored. There were plenty of movies.