Our departure date had finally arrived. We were up early for our 7:30 a.m. flight to Detroit and arrived at the airport about 4:30 a.m. With the increased security following the September 11th attacks the added time was necessary. Arriving as early as we did Northwest rebooked us on an earlier flight which would give us a little more time in Detroit. I didn't object as I knew we could spend the time relaxing in the Northwest Worldperks Club. After a 3 hour layover in Detroit we boarded our flight for Beijing and settled into our seats for what would be one of the longest legs of the trip, about 13 hours in the air. There's one thing to be said for these early flights. When you finally get on them you're so tired from getting up so early it makes it easy to sleep. That was true of this flight. I slept much of the way which shortened the eternity of the flight considerably. By the time we arrived in Beijing we were tired, but still awake and excited enough to enjoy our first sights of the city.

Anne and I didn't quite know what to expect of Beijing. Having been on two one-day excursions to mainland China previously we had a some expectations, however, we hadn't visited a large city and didn't know how our expectations would compare. I must admit, I, for one, was surprised by how modern Beijing was. It wasn't at all like I expected and that was proven as soon as we arrived. The airport was modern and beautiful with all the amenities you'd expect to find in a modern airport, but that wasn't the most surprising thing.

The first thing that caught my eye and surprised me happened on the ride from the airport. As expected we found modern, well-maintained highways with manicured medians and lots of traffic. But the surprise was when the bus pulled up to a toll booth with Chinese architecture. First I didn't expect a toll booth and certainly not one with Chinese architecture, but it was a way of letting us know we were no longer at home and had journeyed to a far off land with a completely different culture. The airport and toll booth were the first of many surprises we would find in Beijing ... a wonderful city to begin your tour of China in.   Chinese toll booth
Chinese Toll Booth
Jing Guang New World Hotel, Beijing
Jing Guang New World Hotel
Arriving at our hotel we found it to be modern, attractive and situated in an area full of activity. The hotel was obviously geared toward the western traveler and had all the bells and whistles you would expect to find at home including satellite TV. Even though we were tired we fought the urge to crawl into bed and forced ourselves to walk to the local market about ten minutes away, of course taking pictures along the way.
Bicyclists in Beijing
Beijing is a city of many bicycles
Small street side market, Beijing
A small open-air market
Anne and Alicia walk down a tree lined street
Tree-lined streets, crowded parking
Are they calling each other?
Public telephones
Bicycle repair man, Beijing
Bicycle repair shop
Resident's chair, Beijing
Resident's chair
Laundry hanging to dry, Beijing
Hanging wash to dry
Returning from the market, Beijing
Returning from the market

After our short walk to the market we returned to the hotel and, believe, it or not sought out something to eat. The hotel had seven restaurants to choose from and we chose a western style restaurant for our first meal. It was a good choice because we would definitely be getting our fill of Chinese food over the next 3 weeks. The meal was delicious and the service excellent. It seems that China, with its large population and low labor cost, knows the meaning of service. Often several waitresses and waiters were assigned to each table insuring excellent attention to every detail.

Following dinner it was off to bed to get a good night's rest in preparation for our first day of touring the next morning. The drawback of any organized tour ... you don't make your own schedule. You have to live within the schedule they set and, unfortunately, they like to begin early in the morning. We had no trouble getting to sleep. The only complaint is that our room was set with two twin beds instead of the king we are accustomed to, but we managed to not fall out of the bed.

Continue to the next page to begin our tour of Beijing at Tiananmen Square and the Imperial Palace.

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Welcome to our China 2001 Photo Album
Planning and Getting there: Grand Circle Tours and Northwest Airlines
Beijing : Arriving in Beijing | Tiananmen Square | The Imperial (Forbidden) Palace (1) | The Imperial Palace (2) | The Nine Sons of the Dragon
The Imperial Palace Garden | The Summer Palace | Summer Palace (2) | Summer Palace (3) | Summer Palace (4) | Local Beijing Market
Local Beijing Market (2) | Hutong | Bell Tower | Hutong Family, Dinner and the Opera | Cloisonné Factory | Ming Tombs | Ming Tombs (2)
Great Wall of China at Ba Da Ling | Temple of Heaven
Shanghai : Arriving Shanghai | Yuyuan Garden | Yuyuan Garden (2) | The Temple of the Jade Buddha | The Bund | Day Excursion to Suzhou
Silk Process | The Administrator's Garden of Suzhou | Shanghai Museum of Art
Cruising the Yangtze River : Yangtze Cruise, Day 1 | Yangtze Cruise, Day 2 | The Xiling and Wu Gorge | The Lesser Three Gorges
The Lesser Three Gorges (2) | The Qutang Gorge | Wanxian | The Last Day of Cruising | Regal China Cruise Lines
Chongqing : Chongqing
Xi'an : Xi'an and Emperor Qin's Terracotta Warriors | Emperor's Qin's Terracotta Warriors (2) | Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Xi'an City Wall
Quilin : The Limestone Peaks of the Li River | The Limestone Peaks of the Li River (2) | Guilin and the Childrens Park | Children's Park (2) and Reed Flute Cave
The Hotels: Hotels, rail and air travel in China
Hong Kong : Victoria Peak, Repulse Bay and Aberdeen Fishing Village | Hong Kong at Sunset | Hong Kong Bird & Flower Market
| New Territories Fishing Village | Hong Kong Farewell Dinner
Bangkok : Jim Thompson House and Golden Buddha | The Flower Market | The Food Vendors | Grand Palace | Mystical Figures | Brightly Painted Masks on Mystical Figures
Golden Mystical Figures | Buildings of the Grand Palace | Lunching at the Shangri La Hotel | Loy Nava Rice Barge Cruise | Ayutthaya, Ancient Capital of Siam
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and the Reclining Buddha | Bang Pa In, The Summer Palace |

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