First of all, I haven’t posted yet because I have had a huge accounting project that needed to be finished first and this morning I sent it off to the client so I finally have a bit of time to catch up…….
We flew out of Atlanta at noon on Thursday, but actually started our trip a day earlier by driving to Atlanta on Wednesday, having dinner with Brian and Amber and then they dropped us off at a hotel near the airport. It was a great start to the journey!!!
The hotel, a Holiday Inn Express was perfect for the evening and was amazingly sound insulated!! We could see the planes landing directly over our room but couldn’t hear a sound!!
I have always found the patterning of hotel carpets interesting so one of the things that I decided to do on this trip was to keep a hotel carpet journal….photographing the hall outside of our rooms, so here is the first entry in that journal……
On Thursday we had a great flight to Detroit, found a place to have a nice lunch and then got ready to board our long flight to Shanghai. Unfortunately, there was a thunderstorm coming in and the captain decided that it would be too dangerous for the ground crew to work during the storm so he delayed our flight until the weather cleared out. The interesting part of this was that the plane next to us boarded and took off in the middle of the storm!!!
So, we ended up leaving about an hour late and arrived into Shanghai an hour late as well. Unfortunately, we had a fairly tight connection to make our flight to Beijing and were especially worried when we saw the length of the Immigration line. On Michael’s suggestion, I mentioned to one of the workers that we had a close flight and she immediately moved us to a short, “fast” lane!!!
We found our bags and ran hopefully to the ticket counter only to be told that the flight had closed about 5 minutes earlier!! However, the wonderful attendant gave us a certificate stating that the Delta flight had been late and also a voucher to a local hotel. At the next desk we were able to present our certificate and be booked onto a flight for the next morning.
A quick taxi ride took us to a BEAUTIFUL Ramada hotel….all at no charge!!! And, of course, it meant another carpet for my journal…..
We hustled our bags in the room and headed downstairs for a quick dinner. Eventhough we were both looking forward to having Chinese food, we couldn’t resist the Indonesian food on the menu and ended up with this…..
It was YUMMY!!
On Saturday morning, we took the shuttle back to the airport and stood in a massive line to (we thought) check in and drop off our bags. Unfortunately, when we got up to the counter we were told that we had to first go to the ticketing desk….ARGH!!!
We did that and he pointed us back to the line, which had grown even longer!! Michael hopefully asked one of the agents if we really had to stand in the line again, and the young man opened the gate and let us cut to the front….people are SO sweet!!!
The flight to Beijing was completely uneventful and we landed almost on time. We were met at the airport by two people from the University, Professor Lee and Doctor Jianfeng. They drove us to our hotel, pointing out many sights along the way, including the Olympic stadium and park. The stadium is very interesting as it looks like a great big bird’s nest!!!
We are staying at a hotel and conference center that is located in the middle of a series of Universities and used to be for the exclusive use of those institutions. In later years, it has been opened to the public as well.
We also enjoyed steamed Salmon, Dumplings, Fried shrimp and stir-fried rice!!
We returned to our room for a brief time and were then met by Michael’s host, Xiao-Ru (pronounced Shou-ru). We were joined by another couple who were professors at Peking University….or maybe it is called Beijing University….we heard it both ways.
They took us on a tour of the gorgeous campus, including a haunting lake…
…and a VERY ornate water tower…..
The campus was once a botanic garden and the rule of new construction is that it must keep the same style and character of the ancient buildings that were originally there. Consequently, the gym looked a lot like a temple!! There were several beautiful vignettes as we walked……
…and I hated to go inside again!! They offered tea and I was rewarded with a refreshing brew of flower petals…..
We were told some interesting history about the University. This particular property was original owned by Yenching University which was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. In 1952, Peking University took over the property and the school as well. Today, PU is the premier University in China!!
After they all quit talking science, we headed to a restaurant (still on the campus) and enjoyed a wonderful meal consisting of NINE different courses!! I love the elegance of the table setting…..
As a sign of the times, the menu was on an I-Pad and not in the usual large book of dishes. This food was tasty and included a steamed flounder…..
…..and shrimp and noodles……
One dish was little brown cubes of a lacy looking substance and I figured that it was some sort of tofu. I was surprised to hear that it was pure gluten!!! (sorry Kathie….you cant eat it!!!!)
We ended the meal with refreshing fruit for dessert……
We returned to the hotel and fell happily and sleepily into bed!!!!