It is now July 4th and I am writing this on the flight to Guangzhou. It certainly has been a long day/night; I started my journey in Boston flying to New York, JFK. Then checked in for my China Air flight, I am looking forward to meeting up with 3 of the execs that I will be working with on this assignment, shortly after arriving at the gate Karen arrived, quickly we got acquainted, then Jim and Anatole arrived. Our flight was delayed about 30 minutes and then we sat another hour on the plane waiting to take off. Our concern at this point was whether we would make our connecting flight. The flight was ok and I dozed off and on, I guess I must have slept as the time went pretty quick. The food wasn’t bad, chicken and rice for one meal and beef noodles for the second, I asked for a club soda and got a coke so I stuck to plain water and tea after that. The stewardesses on the flight were very accommodating and allowed us to move upfront into business class for the last five minutes so we could deplane first in the hope we could make our connection. Alas we didn’t.
Once we got to Beijing we had to pick up our luggage, unfortunately, my luggage did not arrive and I am so glad that I learnt many years ago to take a carry on with extra clothes, so I have enough for a couple of days including business casual for the meeting on Friday, certainly makes it less stressful. However, I do hope that it arrives in Guangzhou before I leave for Foshan on Saturday. It was very hot and muggy as we waited for our luggage and Anatole said that it will be hotter further south, so this was a sample of what it was to be like. Once we got our luggage (minus mine) we organized a later flight which turned out to be the following morning. China Air organized a hotel for us. So our first night ended up in Beijing at an airport hotel. We got there about 11pm local time and we were all hungry and although tired not quite ready for bed. Fortunately they provided us with food, more rice, some great tasting cabbage (spicy) and some other stuff that I have no idea what it was but tasted very good. Jim and Anatole tasted the local beer although I don’t think they were too impressed. I am very glad that I had company and was on the same flight with Jim, Karen and Anatole, this experience has helped us bond very quickly and we have had a good laugh throughout. In addition we were left to our own devices to work out where to go and what to do; interesting signage and the language barrier did create some challenges, so having the company took out much of the stress that probably you would experience if you were on your own. It felt much more of an adventure. I was surprised that there was a clear view from my hotel room as in the newspaper that I read on the flight it mentioned the bad smog in Beijing perhaps that was more downtown, we were certainly on the outskirts.
We were offered two rooms so Karen and I shared since we only had 5 hours before we had to get up for the shuttle to take us back to airport, so we just crashed. Not sure we all slept but were rested to a point. We had breakfast at the airport consisting of sandwiches and a much needed coffee; I think I am getting caffeine withdrawal as I had a headache this morning but maybe that’s just jetlag, as my body doesn’t really know what time it is. I have just experienced the most interesting meal on this flight; I chose the Chinese dish versus the dish for westerners. I can only say it was not for me, it was a rice dish with spicy pickle, which sounds ok but the taste was obviously an acquired taste, so I doubt I will try that again. As the saying goes, nothing ventured nothing gained.