Beijing: Day 1

So my classes finished on Friday afternoon, and I am spending the next couple of days sight seeing.

Honestly I had really mixed feelings about traveling at all, this past week I’ve been having a ‘China Moment” meaning I don’t want to do anything China. I didn’t want to see another thing in China, not Chinese food, or speaking Chinese, or even seeing Chinese people, I just wanted to crawl up in my apartment and hide out for the next 14 days until I come back to America.  When I mentioned this plan to Benjamin, he told me the best thing in the world for me would be to travel and get out of Wuhan.

Well, anyway Phred volunteered to go to Beijing with me, which was fantastic because I sure wasn’t brave enough to try it on my own.  I had the most awesome time and so many great things happened I can’t fit them all into one post, so stay tuned for the next few days to hear the whole story.

 

Day 1 – The Train

Phred and I met at Starbucks in Guanggu close to the subway at 9:00 am on Saturday morning.  Our train was scheduled to leave at 10:20 am so by my best calculations we would have an hour to take the subway across town and 20 minutes of free time at the train station before we left.

Our day went something like this:

8:45 am – Grab a quick caffeine fix at Starbucks

9:00 am – Meet Phred, grab my backpack and head for the subway

9:15 am – Refill bus card that I just realized had less than 1 yuan on it

9:20 am – get on the subway and head for the train station

10:00 am – still on the subway, frantically looking at my watch because our train leaves in 20 minutes and we are still not at the station.

10:05 am – begin power walking up the stairs towards the ticket counter, taking the stairs two at a time

10:15 am – get through the ticket counter and security gate, and begin running haphazardly towards the gate

10:16 am – drop water bottle and shout “Just leave it” as I continue running

10:23 am – duck under the rope at the train gate and show our tickets to the guard who motions towards the train that is just now moving away from the gate and towards Beijing, without two out of breath American passengers.

 

So, yeah, we missed our train by three (3) minutes.  How is that for timing?

Luckily the girl at the ticket counter was super helpful.  She just took our tickets and got us on the next train to Beijing that left only two hours later, so things worked out fine.

 

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When we arrived at the Beijing West train station I looked at the clear blue sky and wondered what all the rumors about pollution in the city were all about.  It was a gorgeous day with the sun shining through the clouds.  A Chinese friend Samuel met us at the station and we went out for the famous Beijing roasted Duck for dinner.  The food was delicious.

 

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This is the view from the 30th floor of the apartment building where I stayed during the trip that looked out over the city skyline.

After settling in to my room after dinner, I had planned to go out and explore the city.  Instead I fell fast asleep and didn’t wake up until 6:30 am the next morning to the alarm on my cell phone playing the song “Pretty Woman” at a volume that was loud enough to wake the neighbors.

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