Finally on my way. I left Austin near noon and flew to Chicago. There was a 6 hour wait in Chicago, and passed the time in the International Lounge. (They had a good cook.) My flight to Beijing was uneventful. I was (thanks to my spending habits) flying on a mileage ticket that kicked me to First Class, and you got to love those beds on a 12-hour+ flight.
I arrived in Beijing about midnight. My bags took longer than usual to arrive, but all got there. Grabbed a trolley, carefully avoided making eye contact with the custom inspectors, and walked back into the world. I was met by a China Travel Service agent and driver. (If you ever do this, do this. That is, arrange to be met by China Travel. They took me to the hotel by private car and handled the check-in. All I had to do was was hand over my credit card and passport, wobble upstairs, and crash. By this time it was a little after 2:00 AM Beijing (which, by the way, is the same time across China – they have no time zones), and Bob was wide-awake. That didn’t last long.
Spent the next two days being shepherded around Beijing by another CTS agent, a young woman named Li Ly (You’ll just have to guess what her adoptive English name is). I went to some of the places that Sherry and I visited in 2005, and we found some new places like the Olympic Grounds (and yes, they are impressive, but I guess all Olympic Grounds impress at some level).
Lily (you guessed, didn’t you?) picked me up on Friday and I boarded a China Air flight to Yantai. Another uneventful flight. First impressions of Yantai coming up.