A Travellerspoint blog

In the Air

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.

Georgia.jpg
A view of North Georgia, for comparison's sake.

Clouds_-_Illinois.jpg
Clouds in Illinois

Illinois.jpg
Illinois as we descended

Chicago_Shore.jpg

Landoverplane.jpg

Chicago3.jpg
A great view of Chicago

Chicago2.jpg
The flight attendant commented that he'd never seen such a good view of the city.

Chicago1.jpg

The_View.jpg
My not so ideal seat on the way to Beijing.

OvertheArctic.jpg
Our plane flew in an arc over Canada, Alaska, and Russia. Ice crystals formed on the window.

Beijing_Land_2.jpg
The land in Beijing. . . looks different.

Beijing_Land.jpg
Even after seeing this, I still underestimated the pollution problem.

Beijing_Airport3.jpg
The Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing_Airport2.jpg
Another view of the Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing_Airport.jpg
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!

Posted by spelham 18:16 Archived in China Tagged air_travel

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