Alison and I arrived in Beijing after a grueling 11-hour flight from Vancouver to attend a 2 week exchange program at Peking University (a.k.a. The Harvard of China). The city greeted us like a warm blanket, 30 degrees Celsius and humid. We were about to hail a taxi when we see this cute Chinese girl holding a PKU-DBIC sign. Despite the fact that neither of us (including her) knew that we were being picked up at the airport, we welcomed the escort to our hotel. Little did we know, there was a giant tour bus waiting to take us to the Haidan district where Peking University is. It was a bit excessive for a giant tour bus to be transporting three passengers while airport shuttle buses were passing us by, jam-packed with people.
The bus ride took a while, but gave us a good view of the suburbs to the city. We were able to catch a glimpse of the Birds Nest from the 2008 Summer Olympics. I also noticed that instead of barbed wire fences, they use broken pieces of glass. Seems pretty practical to me. Approximately an hour and a half later, we arrived at our destination. Tired and grumpy, I forced myself to explore a two block radius surrounding the hotel. The streets smelled like hot pot, and restaurant workers were hustling for customers. I finally returned to our hotel after successfully ordering a cucumber and honey juice at “Central Park Cafe”, which was clearly catered to international students and expats. I then returned to our hotel, hoping to get a good night’s rest only to find out that our beds are essentially wooden boxes with sheets on top. Note to self: take a muscle relaxant tomorrow evening.
Over and out.