First Day In Beijing

Hey Honey:

I can’t believe it had been a week already since I landed again in Beijing. Time sure flies, especially when it been so busy everyday.



The flight on Air China was rather uncomfortable. I had the window seat but there is nothing to see out the window. The entire flight is in darkness! The flight left Vancouver on schedule at 3:00 AM and arrived a little earlier than 5:45 AM in Beijing. Hehehe … sound like a 3 hour flight huh?

That flight was 11 hours long. I did not sleep much because the seat were so uncomfortable. The entertainment system was so archaic that I don’t even want to watch any movies at all. When you come over to visit me, remember NOT to fly Air China!

The food was just so-so. You get a choice of either Chinese or western. I went with Chinese. Quite edible but I did not even finish half of it. Anyway, it was just too much food for a 11 hour flight.


The Beijing Capital International Airport was rather quiet when I landed. Which was a good thing because I was kind of worried because I had so much luggage and had to jostle with the people who don’t respect lines. Good thing there was NO lines at all.

When you get to Beijing, here is what you do. Follow everyone to the immigration counter and line up behind the line that says “Foreigners”. The immigration officers here are much friendlier, so no worries there. They don’t talk much, nor did they ask me any questions. You then get on a train which brings you to another terminal where you pick up your luggage (if you have any checked in). And then you go out to through the green lane of customs. Easy. I will wait for you outside the customs.


This is the service apartment I am staying for the next few months. You will … like it. It is located just around the corner from the most famous shopping street in China, Wangfujing. So there is a lot of eating places and shopping is convenient. Not to mention this is just 10 minutes walk to the Forbidden City. Very centrally located.

I am pretty sure that you will be excited when you see Wangfujing!

What I did not quite like about this place is that the doorman keeps greeting me every time I walk in and out of the building. I have ran out of small talk topics already! LOL!

I walk to work on most days as the office is about 15 minutes walk away. Some days I had to take a cab for a 20 minutes ride to another office.



The service apartment is comfortable and has everything I need. Two TVs, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. It is not a flat panel TV though. I was quite pleased with the accommodation that the company arranged for me. Frankly, I was earlier quite worried of staying in a run down place.

They clean this place up for me everyday, including washing my dishes!! 🙂 I was worried about having to do dishes and all.


Welcome fruits.

At first I thought they would provide me fruits everyday but it was just the first day. They gave me two very small bottles of water everyday though which was convenient for me to put into my bag everyday for work.



The washroom is quite well equipped. Most important of all, the toilet is NOT a squat toilet. 🙂

My pet peeve is that they keep changing the towels even though they have a card that says that they will only change the towels if I place the card on them. I tried to hang it nicely and they still change the towels. I guess China is still not as environmentally conscious as we are in Canada.


Until today, I had not opened a single packet of the things they place in the washroom at all.



There is a kitchen. Well equipped with gas burner, pots, pans, steamers and microwave oven. They also replenish packets of coffee, English tea, and Chinese tea.

There is also a washing machine in the kitchen that I could use to wash my clothes. But since the company covers the laundry, I’ll let them do the job for me.


Good thing I brought some little comfort from home. I should have brought more! Next time you come over to Beijing, bring some more, OK?



The bedroom is spacious. The bed and pillows is comfortable.


Kekeke … good thing I insisted on packing the “in lieu of Suanne” bolster along. Life saver!

When you come over, don’t use mine OK? This one is mine and mine alone. If you want one, you bring yours.


This is the desk where I did most of my work when I am not in the office and at night when I need to deal with the team in Atlanta. So, yeah, I pretty much have to work from 9PM to midnight in Beijing almost everyday because it is the morning in Atlanta.


First thing I did when I got here was to get a cheap cell phone with a local Beijing number. This will save a bit in phone calls for internal calls. The data and voice costs on the Blackberry is so high that I am sure my boss is gonna notice at the end of this month.

Sigh, I got slaughtered. I got this phone above for 399 yuan ($66 Canadian) and a few days later I saw the same phone for 250 yuan at a supermarket.


I went for a walk through the Forbidden City and then walked past the entrance of Zhongnan Hai. If you remember, Zhongnan Hai is the ultra secret compound of the Chinese Communist Party and also where the leaders of China lives. I was so worried about taking pictures but when I saw another person taking pictures, I whipped out my cell phone and took the picture above. The plain clothes officer were staring at me as I took the picture!


I went to a random Chinese restaurant for late lunch. It was not a remarkable restaurant and frankly it was not very good.


The above is like the water boiled fish except that this one is not with fish but with frog meat. Quite spicy but the soup is a bit of a thicker type.


The above was just a wrong choice. It is pork innards in hot pot. Quite salty.

I like the above though.

That’s it … my first day.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Pinoy Gourmet

    Great Report Ben,Nice to know the transition is going well.Keep on exploring and keep us posted

  2. Jean

    What was the last dish? Looks like a comfort soup dish? Nothing wrong with that. Settles the stomach. 🙂

    For a lovely hotel, I guess the Asian style is NOT to use a bed comforter or bedspread to cover the white linen? So make sure to throw clothing on..the chair. 🙂

  3. @Shopaholicinvan

    Hi Ben,

    By the end of your 4 month stint in Beijing, there will be an awesome list of places to try when I go next year! So thanks Ben!! 🙂

  4. liz

    You have my sympathies flying Air China. Due to a last minute change, we had to fly China Eastern and had the same experience. Remember NOT to fly China Eastern. But at least you arrived safely. With all that work to be done, try to enjoy yourself, too. Hope you discover lots of things a casual tourist would not have a chance to experience. We await your reports with excited anticipation.

  5. Connie

    One thing about Northern China food it sometime a bit salty they like to put extra to their taste. My husband family is Northern Chinese and they like it strong taste in their dishes. I am Cantonese and like sweet and sour and they sometime find my dishes mild tasting. They like to load on the soy sauce in food and hot pepper but I learn to try all kind of food .

  6. LotusRapper

    Hi Ben,

    Glad you’re settled and have a nice (cute) suite to stay in. Definitely beats a one-room room.

    Cute kitchen too. Do they provide a wok in the kitchen too, hehehe ?

    Argh, $66 for that Nokia ? Is there a “night market” you can go to ?

    I like that napa soup ….. the sort of dish I’d order as comfort food if I flew all the way to China for business.

    Take care,

  7. bigboy

    Man, when are you coming back? It sucks you have less time to blog, you have become the fixture of daily Vancouver life. Checking out your blog becomes our routine. Boo you company sent you away.

    (((((((((COME BACK))))))))))

    I find that British Columbia is super clean. So when I travel to US or Asia, it always makes me cringe that I am not in a clean environment like my hometown. It’s fun to get out of the town but it’s painful to adapt less clean environment. Canada turns me into germ phobic, in a good way. 🙂

  8. Jeff

    Hi Ben,

    The Beijing Capital International Airport is especially beautiful at night when you look up and the roof is covered with twinkling stars. In the morning, however, you can hear all the birds chirping away and they can actually fly in and out of the airport!

  9. Richard

    Air China is actually better than Air Canada.
    Air China is ranked as 4-stars by Skytrax, while Air Canada is just 3-stars.

  10. MammaViv

    Wah! TMI Ben. The bolster in lieu of Suanne?!! *wink*

    Jokes aside, great “trip report” and can’t wait for more in the months to follow.

    Enjoy the nice life in Beijing….with doorman and all. Take pictures of Wangfujing. I’ve heard of it, but don’t really know what it is. So be sure to write all about it. K`?

  11. Chrystal

    I love it how you write your posts addressed to Suanne. You two are so cute.

Leave a Reply