On my way
20.03.2015 - 21.03.2015 15 °C
After packing my ultra cool backpack I took the train to the south of the Netherlands to meet with Mot, my friend with whom I will be traveling. I spent the night at his place and at 5 am in the morning I woke up. Or well... I was pretty much still awake as I couldn't sleep. A quick breakfast later, packing the car and we were on our way to Schiphol airport.
The plane left at 9.50 so we had to be there in time. Mot's father came back from Curacao that same morning so we agreed to meet him there. We took the car to the airport and he could take it back home. Easy solution for the expensive parking options they offer you at Schiphol airport.
Everything went fine, we got there in time and checked in our luggage. We met Mot's father and took a coffee together, had a small chat and checked the time. 9 am
Crap... wait... 9 am? That means we had 50 minutes left before take-off and we still had to go through customs and security. In other words... RUN !!
We arrived at the security gate. Big waiting line. Dammit!! Waiting... slowly moving forward... waiting... slowly moving forward and around 9.20 we could pass security.
Next dilemma... what gate? (yes, we were well prepared... NOT). Checked the screens and of course, our gate wasn't exactly close by. There wasn't a waiting line when we arrived and we were about the last to board the airplane but we made it. Ready for take off. :-)
Next stop: Zurich.
In Zurich we had to wait approx 1.5 hour for our connecting flight to Beijing. Needless to say I was getting a little nervous when our plane started circling. Apparently we couldn't land and that resulted in a 30 minute delay.
Boarding gates were displayed on the screens inside the plane and we had to take a shuttle to get there. Luckily for us... (or more a standard procedure I guess) the plane was waiting for everybody so we hopped on board for our final destination: Beijing.
The 9.5 hour flight.
O dear Lord... where do I begin? The horror!!
First of all... we were flying with Swiss Air and kudo's to Swiss Air... it was one of the nicest planes I've been on.
The first 3.5 hours passed by quickly and it was a smooth flight. But with the 6 hours left on the clock, the misery started. A small kid, a few rows behind us, started crying. And crying. And screaming. And screaming. Yup... annoying as hell. And of course, a small kid a few rows in front of us thought it was a good idea to join that other damn kid and started crying as well. And screaming. And crying.
Basically... for the greater part of those 6 hours, I was caught in the screaming and crying of those damn things. And it didn't stop. Sometimes they kept their mouth shut for a few minutes, only to start over and over and over again. Horror and misery!! No earplugs could compete with amount of noise those #$%$#@ were producing. I could even hear them during a movie which I was watching with my headphones on. 'Nuff said!
It was also pretty cold. Which is normal when you're up in the sky. -50C Is a normal temperature but now it went all the way down to -72C. Pretty cool. Literally.
We arrived in Beijing around 5.15 am local time. Besides hours of screaming, yelling and crying it was a smooth flight.
We had to pass the immigration stuff, took the shuttle to get our luggage, found the pick-up service from our hostel and we were on our way.
The original plan was to catch a few hours of sleep, go into the city and try to stay awake for the rest of the day and greater part of the evening.
In reality... we arrived around 9 am at our hostel, got our room around 9.30 am and slept until 3 pm. :-P
So after diner, the planned city walk became an evening walk.
First impression: A very nice city and also a very very clean city with very nice people.
Took my camera with me (never leave home without it) to make some evening shots. We found a night market by accident. Or not really by accident, we knew it was there but we didn't have a clue where to find it. So pretty cool we found it by accident. If you're new in Beijing, this is already a must see. It's crowded as hell but very worth the visit. Hope you enjoy the photos!!
The first day ended around midnight. Pretty much tired an broken we went to sleep. The plan for the next day: Forbidden city.