Tuesday, December 25, 2012

China Winter Tour - December 23 - 24

Robin Reif 12/23-24/12
After dashing to the airport through check-in past security to gate onto plane, we’re off to China, soaring over the North Pole from Newark to Beijing.

I'm surprised at the count-on-one-hand number of Caucasians on board. Though I’ve been here before, on my first China trip 10 years back, I must have been in such maternal delirium that the attention never registered as anything but the whole world smiling with me. Now, feeling noticed, I think of Sophie saying she’s always surrounded by white people . . . So in some small sense, this trip is a chance to walk in her shoes.
We arrive pretty wrung out. My bed hair seems a little unfair since altogether I catnapped maybe 15 min over Finland. At Beijing airport, a vast new uber-structure, we connect with other CWT-ers-- excited, exhausted teens, a few tired Moms with girls and, of course Gongzhan and Chuck Johnson. In our state, the energetic Beijing guides Wendy and Linn seem to be moving on Forward Fast as they get us to the waiting buses.

Beijing is hopping and much traffic between airport and hotel. The lobby's festooned with Christmas decorations circa 1965 but eventually, we’re warm and settled into our rooms. Given the fact that we've been up for over 24 hours, I'll quote the man of the hour on this Christmas Eve and say "To all a Good Night."

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