Saturday, January 29, 2011

From the Narita Airport, to Beijing Airport, to the hotel....

So, we left the kids play room and headed to the gate to leave for Beijing... 
On the way there, I, hooray!, found a luggage cart for our backpacks ("Mom, this is getting really heavy..."  We found a seat looking out the window.  I went back towards the hallway for just a second, and Tavin had already made himself cute.  In the approximately 15 seconds I wasn't looking, he managed to get a chance to play some video game on a friendly Japanese teenager's iPad for a few minutes.  Just use this power... whatever it is for good.  Please.  At lease while I am alive.

So... back on the plane.  And some people had WAY over the allowed carry limit - and polite redirection ensued.  And I'm not talking maybe a roll-a-board, computer bag and then a purse - which used to be OK, but is now a no-no.  I mean a roll-a-board, a garment bag, a full shopping bag, and then a purse.  Anyway.  Tavin with 1 back pack each were wave aboard cheerily.  I'm glad someone had the energy to be cheery.

At this point, we had awoken at about 7:30 am, and left home at 10am. Our flight left at 12:55.  It was now 6:50 pm the next day local time  (or 1:50 am back at home).  Japan is +17 hours from Seattle (well also -7 hours, but you need to account for the international date line).  What it comes down to, is we had now been awake for 19 hours and Tavin was fading fast.  We made it onto the plane, and Tavin curled up into a little bed of a jacket and a blanket at my feet until they got ready to close the doors.  (Dirty looks from flight staff ensued, but lightened as I asked, "how much longer 'til I need to move him?"  Doors closed &  then he had to get back up into his seat.  Thankfully, Economy Plus was all but deserted, so I was able to lay Tavin out over 3 seats and he slept the rest of the way to Beijing.  I got some sleep to.

Beijing Capital Airport is HUGE!  No, I mean you can't see one end from the other huge.  You could park the planes INSIDE huge.  And deserted a 10pm.

So we were able to simply stroll up to immigration.  Only after walking past the infra-red monitor cameras.  Checking for feverish people is my guess.  Could it be used to check for tiny animal smugglers as well?  I mean it was right next to the quarantine desk so I'm betting it was for illness only.  But couldn't it work for tiny animal smuggling as well?  All in all though, I bet it would have been more effective if the girl at the monitors wasn't texting madly at the time... or the time when Alec came in a day later.
Stumbled onto the train to baggage claim.  I do believe there was some graft and/or super speedy inspection or "just get it done in time for the Olympics well fix it later... and never did" there.  It was hands down the shiveriest, most chuddery airport train ride I had ever taken.  Interestingly, airport staff sweeps the car as it lets passengers off from getting there from the main part of the airport, before letting us on to leave the satellite gates.  Pretty much the first control freaky think we saw.  So many more to follow.

Yay!  Our bags came off quickly - so yes they did get them checked through successfully.

And they didn't even bother with customs (this is the flight you want if you plan on smuggling anything to China.  There were customs officials there, they were just standing around chatting).

There was our ride.  One of those times when, while I know could have gotten our behinds to the hotel SOMEHOW, there would have been tears and headaches.  It turns out, almost no one who lives in Beijing knows where the darn thing is, it is so new, and built so far out at the edge of town.  But instead, (choruses of angels here) the hotel's "car" was there to whisk us to our destination.

So we were attached to our driver (yes - in China, apparently "sign holder" is a different job from "airport driver."   We were handed off to the driver by the sign holder guy.)

Anyway, we collapsed into the car - it had little bottles of water - I was SO thirsty!

We finally got to the SHINIEST hotel we have ever stayed in.  5 Star Hotel (wowee zowee... but more on the hyperbole of that later.)

There appeared to be a mix-up over whether we were paying for the car.  I'll decided to let Alec hash that one out tomorrow.
The desk agent wanted to discuss special promotions.  I told her my brain was broken and I'd get back to her.

Tavin and I made the room.  It has a HUGE glass wall into the bathroom.  
Tavin doing a little number....
Happily it has blinds if you are sharing the room.

Privacy Function

Other than that it had a nice big bed.  And we headed straight for that.  And fell into it.

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