BRIGHT AND BRILLIANT BEIJING
(By Canh Thong in Laos to mam in VN, SonThai – Hoai Anh in Canada and others)
This was obviously the 1st day of my trip and well, it was probably not one of the best. Everyone who was going on this trip had to come to school first. The teachers and students talked about how the trip is being planned.
After that all the students went back to class (we didn’t really study at all since the teachers don’t even want to teach) for 2 hours. Lunch was when everyone loaded up on to the buses to get to the airport.
Once we’ve arrived at the airport, we met our tour guide. She gave us our passports and boarding passes. She did pretty much everything for us (check-ins and luggage). She explained our flight schedules. We first fly to Kunming then to Beijing. The bad part about this flight was the fact that the students weren’t able to choose the seating. We were forced to sit in the seat shown on the ticket. The flight was neither good nor bad, neither boring nor interesting. Judging from these comments, you can guess that I didn’t get to sit with any of my friends. I sat with two girls who I’ve probably never really talked to even though they were in the same school. Well… they were pretty nice about everything really, so there wasn’t much awkwardness. We just talked about random things as the flight progresses so it wasn’t too bad. Once we’ve arrived at the Kunming airport, everybody went to get their luggage.
During-Airport (Kunming – Beijing)
The Kunming airport was magnificent. It was a brand new one being only 3-4 months old. It is situated on a mountain and the walls that surround the airport are mostly made of glass so you can see a beautiful view. The unfortunate thing was that we had to wait for 3 hours before our next flight. Yes, that means dinner at the airport (This meal unfortunately wasn’t included in our package deal). So my friends and I decided to get fast food since… it’s fast. We got the usual “burger & fries” order (There were no McD’s). Once it was time to board the plane, everyone hurried to the gate. Everyone got on board safely. I once again wasn’t able to sit with any of my friends but this time they were quite close. I waited and waited for the plane to take off but it didn’t. I was curious as to why the plane hadn’t taken off yet. Turns out, the pilots haven’t done the paper works to get the plane from Kunming to Beijing. The delay time was 2 freaking hours. The plane finally took off at 11:30. The food was complete crap! The only good thing about that meal was the water. The flight lasted 3 hours but I slept through most of it so it only felt like an hour flight to me. Everyone was really excited when the plane has landed.
Post-Airport (Arrival at Beijing)
Just by standing next the exit of the plane, you could feel the chill seeping through from the Beijing winter. I luckily brought my huge jacket with but as for some other students… they weren’t so fortunate. After everyone had obtained their belongings, we went on a tour bus to go to the hotel. By the time (3:00am) we’ve reached the hotel, everyone was totally exhausted. It was quite cold and some students looked like they were going to freeze to death! The tour guides and teachers gave the students the keycards to their room once we were inside the hotel lobby. I was paired up with my best friend, Branden. The suite was really nice including two beds, a TV, a really nice bathroom and many other utilities. The view was rather nice too. After Branden and I had gotten used our suite, Branden noticed that his phone was missing. So me, being a good friend ran around with him asking the teachers and tour guide and looking for his phone. We couldn’t find it so I told him to go to sleep and search for it tomorrow since there is no point in running around the hotel disturbing the others. We went to sleep and woke up at 7:30 which was the time we were ordered to wake up at.
Preparing For a Big Day
After waking up, students have an hour to prepare (showering, clothing…etc) before getting breakfast. I woke up earlier than Branden so I got to prepare my things first. After me and Branden were finished prepping, we headed down the breakfast floor. There, we met up with my two other close friends, Tony and James. The breakfast food wasn’t too good but what can I do about it, I need the energy for the day and it’s breakfast, can’t really complain about the quality when you’re so hungry. After breakfast, we loaded the bus and got ready for the big day.
First Stop – Tiananmien Square”
Our first stop was at the Tiananmien Square, the largest square in the world. It was quite cloudy and foggy that morning so it gave the square a rather mysterious look. The tour guide explained to us about the history of the square and that “Tiananmien” means “liberation” in Chinese. After taking pictures and running around with people in the square, we headed to the forbidden palace which was inside the square. The queue was unbelievably long. There must’ve been hundreds and hundreds of people…
(To Be Continued)