Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Beijing Airport and First Adventures

William and I luckily had our own little set of 3 seats between the two of us which gave us a little more room. Sadly, there were no good movies on the flight so I managed to read an entire book.

The International Terminal at the Beijing airport was quite impressive. It was IMMACULATELY clean. No specks of dirt, nor trash anywhere. The terminal was super long and spacious. William said it was a dramatic improvement over when he was last there, when there wasn't anything but concrete- they had to be bussed to a terminal.
Here was the shop area, complete with fountains and flowers
We made it fine through customs, got some yuans, and then decided to try to take a taxi. Well, no one spoke English and so they had to call our hotel. They then told us that it would be 450 yuans or like 450 for their standard fee and we knew that this was WAY too much and so we decided to take the high speed train and the subway. The subway was our saving grace the whole trip because they had the English versions of the Chinese characters of the stations underneath, as well as announcing the stops in English.

We made it to the stop for our hotel; however, there were no street maps underneath indicating where we were. Thus, we went the wrong way in the cold, but were able to figure that out and walk the other way.

We checked in and then decided to walk to William's Google office, even though it was about 8 pm. He was curious to see just how long it would take to walk there- well, it was about 45 minutes (way to long in the cold) and we then took the subway back and it was shorter (about 20 mins). The Google office was pretty similar to the mountain view offices with mini-kitchens, conference rooms, ping pong table, couches and toys in the cubicles. It was in a nice business district that had some great architecture, like below.
We realized from just a few short hours that our trip would be filled with adventures, especially due to the language barrier.

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