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November 24th, 2009:

In Beijing, none the worse for wear – Trashy in China, Part 2


I’m writing this at 3:30ish on Wednesday morning – 2:30 Tuesday afternoon for most of you – and that ain’t so bad considering some of the horror stories I have heard about adjusting to the time change the first few nights.

Definitely not in Kansas anymore, Toto. After a beautiful flight over Mongolia through to Beijing, we were welcomed to the capital by a brownish orange haze that extended to about 5,000 feet. When possible to see the ground on the final approach, a vast footprint of humanity was seen beneath us. It didn’t look like a very highly developed burg from that perspective, but then we deplaned….

And Holy Hot Dumpling, Batman! What an airport! There was quite a bit of new construction that took place pre-Olympics and the airport was one of those places that benefited. Within this monument to modern engineering and sprawling seemingly forever, we went through quarantine screening (they use infrared cameras to detect fevers) and immigration only to board a train to take us to the next terminal to fetch our bags. Not a quick 2 minutes journey was this part of the trip. I have been to O’Hare where there is that little commuter train that quickly ferries you around. No… the Chinese do everything “big” as it seemed though we covered enough ground to take us the next province while in fact we were just shuttling around within the same complex.

And the complex itself? Wow! A huge and beautiful architectural marvel with ceilings about 10 stories above, walls and ceilings of glass and sprawling floor space built to accommodate any degree of traffic. Howard Roark would have LOATHED it!

After that, we were picked up by our hosts and taken on a 45 min. trip to our hotel. After a scrumptious – but fairly light – dinner of spicy tofu, fried green beans, dumplings and rice (and beer, of course!), that was it for the day.

Today? Who knows… probably see some sites before our work in earnest begins tomorrow.

Random thought – I bet the Chinese government didn’t have to deal with citizen committees, consultations or environmental assessment plans when they installed these wind farms!



En route – Trashy in China, Part 1

I’m writing this while happily ensconced in my pod, sipping a Heinekin and munching on cashews out of a little porcelain bowl. According to the map, we just passed over Sudbury and are heading toward the Pole. Figger that we’ll run out of daylight at some point in the not-too-distant future.  I do hope that it will be clear at some point so to see what might be 30,000 below.

All is uneventful thus far. I’m pretty excited about all of this. Who’d-a-thunk that this ex-Parry Sound boy would ever be travelling across the planet to China? Well, I did, I guess. I have always thought that I would get a chance at some point in my life to see a good part of the world. And now it’s happening.

As far as this flight is concerned, my travelling companions are a pretty good bunch with whom will be a pleasure to share this trip. But if that little 8 year old brat one pod over doesn’t chill a bit, a few of us are gonna see what a bratty 8 year old looks like when tossed from a 777!