Saturday, December 29, 2007

Trip to Beijing

So I got an interesting start on my trip to China. After my previous post, I went to sleep, and woke up six hours later--which is about three hours too late. I planned on leaving my room around 6:30, but instead barely got out of there by 9:15am.

I had awoken several times during the night with fever and chills. The kind of fever where you can feel the radiate off every part of you. I woke up at 9 covered in sweat and in a panic. So, I quickly had to accept that I wouldn't make my 9:25am flight.

So, I went to the City Air Terminal at COEX. Let me say right now, I will never check in at Incheon again! There are so many beneifts of being able to check in at the City Air Terminal, especially for us out-of-town folks. Its a cheap taxi ride away from the southern bus terminals and isn't that crowded.

I walked right up to the Korean Air desk and told her I needed to change my flight. Five minutes later, I walked away with a boarding pass for a flight that left later that evening. Then, I walked over to the immigration room, where they lady looked at my passport, gave it a couples steps and I was done. Then, I walked upsatirs to buy a bus ticket to th airport. All of these steps were easy. I walked right up to the waiting clerk.

Then, I had a few hours to kill, so I wandered around COEX mall, enjoyed some American fast food (which Geoje is seriously lacking), and watched American Gangster at the theatre.

Around 3:30, I got on a bus for the airport. There, I went through a special door through security that is reserved for City Air Terminal Customers, Diplomats, and Airline Crew. Again, no wait. Then, I walked over to the special immigration line where the guy scanned my passport again and ushered me a long.

I highly recomend using the City Air Terminal for anyone who is flying out of Incheon. I only noticed Korean and Asiana Airline desks there, but you might be able to check in through them for their partner airlines.

The plane ride was uneventful--except for the excessive heat. Koreans have this awful habit (especially for someone who tends to be warm) of cranking the heat up to the max at the first sign of chilliness. Yes there were flurries at the airport, but that doesn't mean that the airplane cabin needs to be warmed to 90 degrees!

In Beijing, I took a bus and then a taxi to my hostel. I went to the main branch but was informed that my room was over at their other location a few blocks away. Instead of just giving me a map and pointing me on my way, a middle aged man pulled up in his bicycle-trailer deal (I'm not sure what to call it). It was a utility trailer and wasn't meant for people, but he motioned me in nonetheless.

So, I rode through the freezing Beijing air sitting on the side of this trailer being pulled by a old man on a bicycle. That happened in my first thirty minutes in the city. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week holds in store.

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