We flew in last night. Tom, our tour manager, picked us up at Beijing airport & took us, by cab, to the hotel. We’d been up for 2 days, sleep on the flight not happening (even though it was pretty smooth). We crashed pretty hard last night which was great. Woke early this morning & it feels like the jet-lag has gone. The hotel is awesome – Aloft in Beijing.

Pouting in the lobby at Aloft, Beijing.

Last night we went out to eat something before going to bed. It wasn’t easy, had to ply myself out of the room, eye’s half shut – and walk down the street 10 minutes to a huge monolythical shopping mall (apparently the biggest in Asia). We found a place that looked OK to eat at – but we’d forgotten the phrase-book. So ordering food was an episode of pointing at pictures, nodding or shaking our heads. We ended up with a great wok full of stir fry, loaded with a mass of hot chilies. Perhaps shaking one’s head & pointing at pictures of hot peppers is another way of saying “hell yeah – give me 400 of those red looking hot things…”. That said, heat aside, it was great food.

Right now, it’s morning in China & we’re sitting in the lobby, lap-tops out etc. The air here is hazy. Really hazy. When you’re flying into Beijing, you can barely see the city for the thick pollution fog that blankets the city & surrounding area. The city air smells a bit like riding Puffing Billy (famous old Melbourne steam-train), with a few more chemicals thrown in. While it’s not oppressive or majorly unpleasant, it’s definitely something you first notice when you arrive here.

Kent arrives tomorrow morning – he’ll be in the air as I write, en-route from Atlanta. The tour starts Friday.

Checkya tomorrow,
Fires out.