An Englishgirl in Beijing.
I was delighted when, sitting on my Swissair flight, the pilot announced that his name was Daniel Schmitt. It reminded me of reading about Jurgend Fischer in Deutsch lessons back at The Becket School with Helen and Ailbhe. Our favourite actor was Daniel Bruhl, but only because he seemed to appear in every German war film from 1980. Still, this time I'd set my sights higher than Germany (or further, in any case) - This time I'd set my sights on China.
When I exited the plane at Beijing, I went to 'baggage claim' to pick up my suitcase; I was standing about 3 footsteps away from the conveyor (1 step behind the yellow 'do not step beyond' sign), minding my own business and surveying the magnificent airport when my gaze was broken by three Swiss bankers strolling up to the conveyor, casually taking the spot right in front of me!! Being the polite little English girl that I am, I'd taken a step back to allow anyone behind me to also be able to see; however the three of them filled the gap between myself and the belt, each nursing a grey 'hand luggage' suitcase. I must add that watching each of them park the suitcase on their side, lock the wheels depress the handle and step in front of the case in unison was pretty comical. Had I been a more cynical person, I would have probably pondered on the metaphor between this synchronised suitcase shuffle and their dull and predictable lives… Instead, I giggled, because they had funny German accents. The bankers' suitcases came first, maybe because they'd paid more, still it wasn't long after that I had my suitcase and was sitting in Starbucks inside the airport (Ailbhe's suggestion) waiting for the Pittman.
And we did it: One bus journey down the line, we were walking to my Youth Hostel to register (because I have an English Visa - Yep that's right, Gabby got herself a visa!). We had a bit of a girly catch-up, and planned our evening's exposition to a Katsu Curry restaurant (£2.50 a meal) and then on to the Korean Market to buy cheap t-shirts decorated with ridiculous English phrases…
So, I've decided to write a travel blog to keep everyone at home content that I'm spending my time and my money wisely. I hope to keep a list of everything I've seen and everything I've eaten (I'm sorted for small talk til Christmas!) and maybe add one or two more reflective blog entries - I am, after all, in China: There's quite a lot to talk about!
So, here's hoping I can keep this up like a Catholic keeps up Lenten promises.