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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-04-08 16:10
Subject: [travel] A bit more on yesterday, Beijing day 0 and Beijing day 1
Security: Public
Tags:child, family, personal, travel
I was up 28 hours yesterday. The first leg was short and uneventful, from Portland to Vancouver on Horizon. In Vancouver we spent about three and a half hours in the international terminal, which is very nice, then boarded JAL to Tokyo. We had the 747 business class virtually to ourselves. Let me tell you, the service in that cabin far exceeds even the finest first class service here in the US. My meal would not have been out of place in a white tablecloth restaurant. I even got some writing done, til my battery gave up the ghost.

We were a bit rushed changing planes in Tokyo, as our inbound flight was slightly late. The transfer gate was in the same part of the terminal, so this proved to be a non-issue. 767 to Beijing, crowded business class, but it was a nice enough flight. We were stupid tired by then, so we didn't so much with the noticing.

I haven't been to Beijing since the airport expansion, and the new airport is humongous and beautiful. You sure get your exercise going through it. Very friendly and efficient arrivals process, much more so than entry into the United States. The only odd note was that the foreign exchange booths would not take our traveler's checks. Our tour organizer had a guide meet us outside the arrivals area, and we were whisked off to the hotel in a jet-lagged fog.

A ridiculous night's sleep ensued. the_child and I went for a medium-long walk in the predawn. Very pleasant weather, very quiet streets. We talked about architecture; contrasting traditional buildings with Communist era buildings with modern construction. We talked about what it means to be Chinese and how languages differ. We talked about why temples have temple dogs out front. It was very nice.

Afterwards, breakfast, which is one of those very typical Asian hotel breakfasts with the incredibly eccentric buffet lineup. We hooked up with my parents, and now meeting the regular guide for the day's adventures in less than an hour. She'll be with us the whole trip, to all four cities. And dinner with AH tonight, whose LJ handle I forget and cannot look up from here.

Photos and further travelog to come!

Originally published at jlake.com.

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User: selfavowedgeek
Date: 2009-04-09 00:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Like the travel updatery.

Hope y'all continue to have a fun, enlightening, and safe journey, Jay.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2009-04-09 01:07 (UTC)
Subject: If you're taking questions
A curious question came to mind: Are you wearing Typical Jay Lake Garb while in China, or have you toned it down for some reason? I was just thinking that Hawaiian shirts and colorful socks might cause an international incident.
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User: e_bourne
Date: 2009-04-09 02:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am currently reading Proust and the Squid, which is about how learning to read (as a species) alters the physical mechanics of the brain. One of the observations in it is that European language reading (this is reading, not spoken language, bear in mind) and Chinese language reading, carve out areas in different parts of the brain. I thought that was fascinating, and wonder if it has to do with the different types of symbology in the written languages.
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User: mevennen
Date: 2009-04-09 09:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Have fun! All I know of Beijing is the airport, which seemed city-sized in itself.
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Chris McKitterick: Virgin Galactic
User: mckitterick
Date: 2009-04-09 17:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Virgin Galactic

I've noticed that entering the US with its security theater is diametrically opposite to entering other nations. It's as if we don't want visitors.

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