Looking at a globe, you know that China is a big place. Anyone who saw the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies knows that the Chinese go big. Arriving late last night via Seattle and Tokyo trans-pacific flights, that was my first impression of China. It’s BIG.
Sounds really cliched I know. But the minute you land at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK), it feels like you’re taxiing forever to the next province. There are three humongous terminals here, and I didn’t even land at the newest and most impressive T3. I stayed overnight at the Hilton Beijing Capital Airport hotel, and even with my exhausted, jetlagged senses I could feel how big this hotel was. The lobby is grandiose and impressive. Heck, they even upgraded me to a 2-room suite thanks to our Diamond status with Hilton.
The next morning after fueling up at the Executive Lounge, I took the hotel shuttle back to Terminal 3 (the big one) to meet up with the staff from CRCC Asia and a couple other Aussie interns for the ride into the city and to our apartments. That was a memorable first trip into the notorious Beijing traffic. Let’s just say that when my cousin who lives in Bangkok tells me the traffic and air pollution are bad, you know it’s really got to be bad. Traffic lights, signals, and lane markings are all “guidelines” vs. actual laws in China. Everyone seems to anticipate and know where the other is going, so when you need to cross a busy street — look around and double-check and then just go for it. Probably makes my Portland friends cringe and my NYC friends cheer!
We are staying in some nice apartments near the Shuangjing metro station (still have yet to actually get on the subway, which we also hear horror stories about being pushed in like sardines and fighting to get on/off during rush hour…Monday’s coming soon) near the Chaoyang Central Business District (CBD). Below are a few photos of my flat and out of our windows to get a sense for the area. It’s been a whirlwind couple of jetlagged days so far, venturing out for bottled water (can’t drink the tap stuff) and other necessities. The induction day and business orientation is coming up so that will be another day full of new information and sensory overload.
Welcome to Beijing!