Trip Start Aug 14, 2007
114Trip End May 23, 2008
· GMT + 8hrs
Before I start this entry in earnest lets just pass off a big happy Valentines Day to one and all. There, who said there is no love in the world?
The (non secretive) 'Pick up'
Pat has arrived, safe and sound. Well, safe at least. This is day 185 of 'The Honeymoon' (day 1 of Pat's adventure within an adventure), meaning it's 186 days since I last saw Pa.. sorry, Patricia. No much has changed; (s)he's still the same Pat, there just seems to be a little bit more of the same Pat than what I remember. It seems maybe he's put on the weight I've lost in those aforementioned 185 days. What a trooper. We haven't done much. After all, it's only been 7 hours since the 'pick up' in Beijing's Capital airport. Worries about not finding each other in the airport itself were ill-founded; with one international arrivals gate even we couldn't have screwed it up. Not long after that we were back in the city and settling into our RMB220 (€21) room at my old Beijing hangout, The Far East Hotel. It was all very easy peasy.
Apart from the ease of our meeting there is nothing really to report on Beijing itself. Of course we haven't really had a look around yet, meaning we haven't gotten into any trouble. Changes to the city are afoot ahead of the Olympics this summer, but I doubt you need to come to Beijing itself to know that. If you were here however you'd need to be Ray Charles not to notice certain parts of the city missing, hidden behind massive billboards showing how the new district behind them will look (the Qianmen area where we're staying is one such area). It's mass reconstruction, Chinese style.
For someone who hasn't been to Beijing before Pat really doesn't have a plan for what to see now that he's here. He said he's not that type of traveller; you know the type who has a list of things to see and goes around ticking them off the list. Suits me. I've been here and reported from here before (& before & before) so my list of must see sights at this stage is understandably small. In saying that however we do both want to see the new Olympic Stadium (the so-called birds nest) and take a hike on a remote, non-tourist infected section of the Great Wall, something I was meaning to do the last time I was here. No doubt we'll squeeze a few more sights into the 3 or 4 days we'll spend here (we haven't yet decided) but our sights are truly on locations further afield, namely Xi'an, our next stop, and Lhasa, Tibet.
· Hours since 'the pick up' - 7
· Beers we've consumed since then - 2 each, over lunch. Best keep a count while we still can.