And We're Off!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed
Beijing Airport

Flag of China  ,
Saturday, May 5, 2012

After lots of goodbyes and good lucks we finally got onto the plane to Beijing and immediately felt like a minority.

13.5 hours of flight, 2 "meals" and not a lot of sleep later we get our first sight of the mainland!
We were both impressed how flat, dusty and "patch-worky" the country-side looked.
The first of our moments of sheer terror hit like a brick wall as we landed and the reality of what we were doing sank in.

After getting through the immigration section with little more than a glance at our passports and a grunt toward the camera we climbed aboard a train to get to the other end of the airport. We picked up our bags and negotiated our way through Customs; which was simply two guards that looked like they had better things to do than worry about what is in our bags!

We got picked up by our taxi driver and guide and were whisked straight back to our apartment in Tianjin, a 2 hour drive away.

Now as though we weren't already on edge form landing in a strange land, the taxi ride was sure to push us over the limit! In China nobody uses indicators, instead favoring the horn to warn when they are coming up beside you. Nor do they like to stick to any particular lane, speed limit or any other semblance of a road rule! Sure the drive on the motorway was bad enough but the madness really kicked off once we were inside the Tianjin city limits!  The shear volume of cars, scooters and bicycles all competing for the same spot on the road is just mind blowing, but somehow it all works. Organised chaos!

When we finally got to the apartment building our guide showed us to our room and buggered off, saying we were to meet our boss, James, in the lobby downstairs at 8.30 the next morning.  It was then about 11.30am. 

Our apartment consists of a sitting/lounge area (with a wicker couch thing, a desk, a huge TV and a drinking water station), a small bathroom, a tiny kitchen and a sleeping area that is separated from the lounge by another wicker looking (storage unit?) thing.  It is cosy, doesn't have the best view and is full of oddities.  For example, the building is apparently only 3 or 4 years old (you would never tell from looking at it), and our kitchen has two very nice looking gas hobs to cook on.  However, the building is not connected to gas, so we have a hotplate to cook on.  Apparently a building needs to have 90% occupancy before they will turn gas on.  Our guide had gone out and bought us a lovely duvet and sheet set, (the most amazing thing ever, check out the pics!) and after making the bed we both collapsed onto it, had a mini-break down and then fell asleep. 

Holy crap we're in CHINA!!
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