The day came to leave. Still not really able to replace the nervousness/stress, that I always experience when preparing to travel, with any kind of excitement, I arrived at the airport. The queue just to get bags checked-in was the longest I remember. And it seems you have to queue twice now: once for some “automated” process of printing baggage labels, ostensibly intended to speed things up (clearly, it only slows things down); and then once to get everything checked by an actual person and put the bag onto the conveyor. At one point I really thought I might miss my flight. But, finally, I was through security before they had even announced the gate number.
After boarding the plane, we sat at the dock for over an hour due to “having to remove some luggage”.
Arriving in Beijing, the first thing that hits you is the heat, which is beautiful. Or at least it is at first, after having been in an air-conditioned metal tube for 11+ hours.
The next thing that strikes you is the smell. I had forgotten it. I don’t think I have smelled anything like Beijing’s smell anywhere else. It’s sort of like a sense of metallic-coal-like grit filling the air. The closest I can think of is the smell of grinding metal. But it is not quite that. It is certainly not as pleasant as that.
Because we were delayed, XR couldn’t meet me at the airport. She sent her kind and beautiful assistant, CX, to meet me and take me to the hotel.
In the evening, I went to meet AW and saw the place where she works, and we ended up in Pizza Hut.
I am extremely tired, and have another long day tomorrow.