Got some pics to go with this blog post, but I haven't been able to shrink the 12 mpix size for posting yet, so I guess their just going to hive to wait. Leave it to the Chinese to make things difficult.
Apr 14 12:39. Day 1
First step in this trip, been on this stoopid plane for almost 11 hours so far and I'm so ready to get off. Not the longest flight I've ever been on, but still an iron butt marathon.
Food was surprisingly decent, dry noodles with shrimp, but I did take issue with the yak piss they where trying to pass off as red wine.
Some ppl have expressed curiosity as to why I'm on this trip. What it boils down to is that I had been offered an opportunity to tour the country of china, to get a taste of the culture and history. I really have no idea as yet to exactly where I'll be going. All I know is that my trip begins in Beijing. And will involve a lot of city hoping. After the all that, I'm suppose to be going to the oldest art school in china to meet the head master and to take a look around and meet a few of chinas " modern masters", whereupon, should I meet one I may get along with and who might be able to help take my work to the next level, I have the option of remaining in china for as long as I need to to apprentice under said master... Or until either my visa expires or they kick me out of the country, whichever comes first
0747 hours Beijing local time
Unless I misunderstood the flight attendant, Beijing is 15 hours ahead of los angeles. First thing I noticed off the plane is the gianormous airport. Mr. Wong (my host) tells me Beijing international airport may be the largest airport in the world. We had to take a train just to leave the terminal to get to immigration processing. Place is freaking huge.
Not even quite 7am and there is already a lovely brown haze around the horizon. I thought LA pollution was bad... Nice highways though, lot better looking then our great concrete monsrosities. Toll booths every 2 miles or so. Good gawd it's expensive to drive. Gas is basically $5 US a gallon. We were at the pump and I saw it was $8.3 chinese (the conversion is about $1 US to $6.5 China, so I thought it was a little over a dollar a gallon. I thought "Holy crap, batman! Gas is less then 2 bucks a gallon here!!!!" WRONG! Its sold by the liter here... So multiply the price by 4 to get the cost of a gallon... Hence, round about $5 US a gallon... Boooo! So expensive gas prices plus toll all over the highways plus a few other ways the government has to snake its grubby fingers into your wallet and it almost makes me think it's not worth driving a car here. Problem is that much like living in LA, you kinda HAVE to have a car to get by here. Bottom line? Get ready to grab your ankles!
1200 hours Beijing local time
Lunchtime. Korean BBQ. First impression. Service is king! Or maybe it's that the Restaraunt is located in a snooty neighborhood. It's kinda hard to tell cause it seems a general mentality is that one can always go somewhere else to spend ones money. Good food. Good atmosphere. Ninja waiters and waitresses... Meaning, never have to ask for a refill or wait very long for someone to help you with anything. Denny's it is not.
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