I feel a little foggy

Trip Start Dec 01, 2004
Trip End Dec 10, 2004

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Flag of China  ,
Friday, December 3, 2004

Today we arrived into Beijing in a cloud of fog. After the craziness we were tired and ready for a nice nights sleep. We had practiced our Mandarin on the plane. I wanted to be a good American ambassador and show my enthusiasm to learn about China and embrace the culture. I was so excited to use what I had learned.

The man holding the friendly planet sign stood stoically in the baggage claim area. I walked up and nervously struggled to say "Ne-how. Wo da ming szu shou Jurica Laura" (Hello, my name is Laura Jurica) I guess that this guys week had been pretty bad with all the flight cancellations due to fog (600 cancellations over the week) and crabby tourist that had lost much of their vacation waiting in airports all over the world. Because I got out Ne-how and that was about it. He cut me off and said it will be much more efficient if you just spoke English! Ouch.. You could almost hear the air let out of my balloon. 

After collecting our bags we were shuttled onto a bus and hauled to the Gloria Plaza Hotel. When we got to the hotel and checked in Jeremiah found his room to be a wreck. Somehow it had missed the housekeeping call. I don't think that our guide believed Jeremiah when he said that it wasn't going to be a quick clean. The room looked like a herd of Buffalo had ran through it. Actually it would have been smoking cheese eating Buffalo. There were empty cigarette packages everywhere and a half eaten block of cheese sitting on the TV. There was even dirty underwear left in the room. Well that is just Jeremiahs luck!


We decided to catch a few winks but once in bed we slept until 8pm. Guess that is only right. We had been traveling for over 37 hours. I had only caught about 4 hours sleep on the flight and then about a one hour power nap in the Seoul Airport. We were exhausted.

By the time that we woke up Ron had made it to Beijing. We decided to scope out a restaurant near by. We walked in and we were met by a large group of staff that showed us to a table. Our Mandarin is so limited I don't think you could communicate with anyone. No one in the restaurant spoke English even a little. So we just pointed at the menu to order. We had no clue as to what we were doing. I think that the orders were meant to be for everyone to share but we didn't get that until things started to arrive at the table. They kept coming and kept coming. 

They brought out a crab, I think it may have been raw, we started trying to take it apart. A few minutes later a girl brought over a crab cracker. We started cracking open the crab and trying to get the meat out... moments later the girl brought the picker over... We laughed at ourselves. As we ate Cory whispered "don't look now but I think that we have an audience." Of course all of us turned to catch 3 of the staff watching us eat. Upon seeing us notice them they all giggled and turned away.

The meal was fantastic. As we finished I needed to use the rest room. I tried rest room, bathroom, I tried my limited Mandarin and tried to say bathroom but I was failing miserably. Ron points to his crotch and says "psssssssssss" Wide eyed the girl turns back to me. Embarrassed by Ron,  I finally found the trigger word and said Toilet? She turns bright red and points me in the right direction. While I was away from the table the girl went over to her other friends and the gang heard her relay the story in Mandarin along with the pantomimed "psssssss" and they all burst out laughing.

This bathroom was my first experience with a squat toilet in China. I don't mind the squat toilet but I wish I didn't need an Imodium right now.
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Where I stayed
Gloria Plaza Hotel Beijing
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