10.06.2008 - 11.06.2008
24 Hours of Fun, June 10-11:
4:30a.m. - Leave home for airport
8:30a.m. - Flight leaves for Chicago (O'Hare)
10:30a.m. - Arrive in Chicago (O'Hare)
1:00p.m. - Board plane for Beijing
3:00p.m. - Finally leave for Beijing
4:30a.m(US)/p.m(Beijing) - Arrive in Beijing!
I was too exhausted for jetlag. Although I did have symptoms of motion sickness for about three days after landing.
A view of North Georgia, for comparison's sake.
Clouds in Illinois
Illinois as we descended
A great view of Chicago
The flight attendant commented that he'd never seen such a good view of the city.
My not so ideal seat on the way to Beijing.
Our plane flew in an arc over Canada, Alaska, and Russia. Ice crystals formed on the window.
The land in Beijing. . . looks different.
Even after seeing this, I still underestimated the pollution problem.
The Beijing Capital International Airport
Another view of the Beijing Capital International Airport
The inside of Terminal 3 of the airport, which opened just a few months ago. This picture doesn't even begin to show the charm of the terminal's architecture, or how incredibly expansive it was.
Overall my experience at that airport was extremely awkward. The terminal was empty but for our plane load of people, and there was no air conditioning. After getting out of the cramped plane, walking into a huge, shining, hot, empty building was not quite what I was expecting. I could actually hear my footsteps echoing. And as I sweated my way around, I couldn't help but notice all of the staring Chinese eyes. But there's no denying that the terminal was beautiful, new, clean, well managed, and so on.
This is my first time outside of the United States, my second plane ride (since I was 8 or 9), and the longest I've ever been away from home. The 24 hours before landing in Beijing were like 24 hours of climbing up a roller coaster slope, waiting for that first big drop. Regret at having locked myself into the seat, followed by anxious stomach churning and muscle tension, then overwhelming fear and excitement as the top approaches . . . and then the rocky, tear-jerking fun begins!