April 8th, 2009

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[travel] Beijing Day 1

Arrived in Beijing last night, finally got to bed after being up for 28 hours. Hotel internet was fubar, as was my WordPress instance for a while yesterday, so no posting. Just getting sorted out from jet lag now, more on the vaguely surreal transPacific flight when wakefulness permits.

Originally published at jlake.com.

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[links] Link salad hangs in Beijing

Lone Star Stories Reader is now available for a free download — Check it out, and pass the word.

A map of the land of book

Ghost Coach: 1930Shorpy with railroad pr0n. More here and here.

More on the Alcubierre warp drive

The commercial future of spaceflight

Life's constituents around M dwarfs — More coolness from Centauri Dreams.

?otD: Did you fall all the way to China?




4/9/2009
Body movement: urban walking all day
This morning's weigh-in: n/a (traveling)
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville; The Solitudes by John Crowley

Originally published at jlake.com.

jay-China-avatar

[travel] A bit more on yesterday, Beijing day 0 and Beijing day 1

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.