Monday, June 1, 2009

6/1 Good bye Beijing

I paid our small initial bar tab using Monopoly money, so technically I guess there's no record that we'd ever been to the Beijing Doubletree, except that they had our passport numbers. So did half of Beijing, by this point. Karen and I leisurely left the hotel at 6 am, the minimal traffic allowing our taxi to get us to the airport within about 45 minutes, a couple of hours before our scheduled departure. Security was routine, since we'd decided to check our two bags along with Alex's large suitcase of winter clothes (and some special gift items, which I was still concerned might cause interference with the jet's electronic equipment or, just as bad, cause a fire), making our only carry-ons our trusty backpacks. Four hours to Tokyo, and then six more sitting around the Tokyo airport. The 12 hour flight had been delayed for an extra hour due to "mechanical problems," since no air traveler would argue that it would make sense to ignore a warning light before take off. [We could just as easily have had an tragic experience near the Arctic Circle as apparently happened to an Air France jumbo jet in the Atlantic at about the same time as our flight.] The delay caused us to miss our connection in Detroit, but Northwest used surprising aptitude and rerouted us on a couple of other planes to get us (and our luggage) back to Tulsa before midnight. Again, I could have just said we left Monday morning and got in Monday evening. There can be such a distortion of truth in brevity.

Oh, and 300 or so more photos (many in high resolution) are available by going to my site, and choosing "Galleries" and then "China" (or try the following quick link):

Alex plans to upload all the fun cooking school photos for the benefit of our fellow students under "China Cooking" (hopefully soon). Just ignore the multiple hoses fanning out from the propane tanks.

I've tried to recount our adventure as clearly and completely as possible, and have not made anything up. I don't know if we left as good an impression on the hundreds of people we met in China as they did upon us, but I like to think we did. So I think we accomplished our mission to have fun, be happy, and make a difference. And everybody knows now what I think of the food.