We’ve discovered a new low (or high) in uncomfortable travel experiences – we flew on a wide body jet with a 3-4-3 seat configuration. The seats were small and there was so little leg room that my knees touched the seat in front of me, before that person reclined. Luckily for us there was an empty seat next to Catherine. We slimmed down to 5 carry-ons (Catherine was mortified). One a rolling bag with porcelain, my backpack again with porcelain and a few odds and ends, Catherine’s backpack with paperwork and ipods, a camera bag w/computer and oh yeah a diaper bag for the star of the trip. Lili did great, only crying a little bit and sleeping most of the 3-hour flight. Although we did have a diaper bag accident with the bag of medicines – children’s tylenol makes a sticky mess of everything when it leaks in the TSA approved 1-quart ziploc bag.
We just started getting a taste of the New Year’s travel rush, imagine Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years combined into one massive countrywide week-long holiday and you aren’t even close. But everything went smoothly and our travel guide for the group trip had arranged a hotel rep to meet us at baggage claim which made getting to the hotel really easy. We took a nap and then went out for a walk. Even here in Beijing, Lili attracted attention, although not as much as in Nanchang. We are in an airport hotel and there is this neighborhood with shops, stores, etc. Although we saw a fireworks store Catherine wouldn’t let me buy New Year’s fireworks because they are illegal to set off until Feb 17th here in Beijing. Of course it sounds like a war zone outside of our window right now with lots of small firecrckers, many large booming explosions and occasional visible bona fide “bursting in air” fireworks. Go figure. Maybe when we get home I’ll try to track down a long string of firecrackers to celebrate the New Year and to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. You have to love a tradition which encourages you to make lots of noise with gunpowder.
Dinner was excellent at the hotel restaurant. I’ve discovered a great new dish – eggplant with chili sauce and minced pork – tasty. We had essentially the same dish yesterday for lunch – it’s almost like a chinese ratatouille. Even here in our airport hotel there are vendors selling the core staples of the chinese tourist trade – chops (the stone seals used in traditional calligraphy); chopsticks; glass globes with paintings inside them; carvings of animals; chinese clothing; etc. Basically we could have waited to buy stuff until our last night in China because almost every thing we bought is available here – or at least a close facsimile thereof.
Lili is not sleeping well tonight. Lots of unconsolable crying – we think it’s gas but who knows. As soon as she, uhm, toots for lack of a better word, she smiles and is able to go back to sleep. This has know happened twice – the first time she cried for over an hour. This time it was only 10 minutes.
Well it’s time to shut down the computer. Depending on how tomorrow goes there may be an update from Japan, otherwise it could be a while. And yes, for the thousands (okay tens) of fans out there we’ll keep blogging although probably not as frequently. -t