Beijing Trip 5
We arrive in Beijing early morning on 5.8.2013, 2am. Beijing airport is huge and quite well managed.Much like so many other international airports,
we note, blearily. That’s nice though
- pictures of thegreat wall as we clear immigration. Took some snaps immediately!No one there to meet us at arrivals, had to hang around till 2.35, then this young Chinese girl rushesup. Its Alice, our tour guide. A short, spritely young lady, in shirt and trousers, smilingly anxious face,no make-up, blond bleached hair. She is very pleasant, English is a bit of a struggle, but we get byfine. She leads us to a van and we pile our luggage in. The driver of our van is called Joe, a strappingyoung guy who knows no English, but is friendly and helpful. The strong silent type, mostly.Alice chats with us all the way to the hotel. She is from Hainan province but has been living andworking in Beijing for the past 16 ye
ars. She likes being a tour guide, but tourism hasn’t
been verygood lately, since the rich western tourist trade has been down for the past few years. So she islooking for a second job, taking Chinese tourists abroad. She has recently passed the required examand is waiting for a job offer. Meanwhile, us poor Indian/Malaysian tourists will have to do!We check in at 3.30am and are dizzy with tiredness. Still, the room is nice, three beds and a goodbathroom with a lovely hot shower! We all have our bath and drop dead asleep at 4am.
: Morning arrives early, and Bapun is up, demanding tea! He makes it, with some help from me.We drag ourselves to breakfast at 8am. Chinese breakfast is rice porridge, noodles, fresh salads,steamed veggies and slices of
ham and sausages. There is bread and jam, but we don’t touch them.
No knives or forks, only soup spoons and chopsticks. Bongshu and I manage with chopsticks, Bapuncopes with two soup-spoons!!! At least the coffee is hot!Joe arrives at 11am, but Alice is late, finally arriving at 11.40, full of apologies. We set off in our
allotted van, first for lunch. We arrive at a quaint ‘garden restaurant.’ The place is decorated partly
like an old time royal rest room and partly like an opium den! We eat in a private room with a hugeround table covered with yellow damask, and red chairs (all dining tables in China are round
harmony). Yellow signifies royalty (us?!) and red means good luck. Nice start to our holiday! Wehave a sumptuous lunch of chicken roast (served along with the head!), grilled prawns, pork, beef and steamed veggies, accompanied by jasmine tea and coke as well. Are unable to finish, but Alicesays we must not clear the table, since leaving (wasting?) food implies we will be wealthy!!!