Video begins during our final approach and continues through landing.
It was a quick flight of just over one hour to Toronto. It's kind of cloudy here.
Just killing time here. I had a four hour layover to begin with and now my flight to Beijing is delayed thirty minutes, so that's 4.5 hours to kill. At least I get to wait in the comfortable Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge. Free snacks, internet and a comfortable place to sit.
Well since I've only been gone a couple hours there's not too much to report. Hopefully I'll have better things to report on other than the Toronto Airport soon.
Greeting from China,|
Not off to a good start. They managed to lose my luggage. I have no idea where it is. The person I talked to didn't speak much english and it was hard to communicate. It looks like I was the only one on the entire plane that didn't get their bag.
Should anyone call from Air Canada about the bag I need it delivered to the Beijing Marriott City Wall by Sunday night. The big bags are being rounded up and taken to the ship at that time. I board the Diamond Princess Monday afternoon.
Will write more when I actually do something besides fly.
It is vacation time again. On Thursday morning I flew to Toronto and then after a four and a half hour layover there, it was a 12.5 hour flight to Beijing. The flight path wasn't exactly what I expected. We flew up over the North Pole and then down over Russia and Mongolia before landing in China.
We landed in Beijing at 4:00 on Friday afternoon. After clearing the Chinese health and custom checks I made my way over to baggage claim. I waited and waited until I was standing there all by myself and they turned off the belt. My bag never showing up. So I report the missing bag to a person that spoke almost no English. By the time I get done with all that it was after 6:00 and I was sure that the person meeting me would have left. Luckily he waited and I was able to join up with my group.
Today, Saturday, we had an 8 hour tour of Beijing. The weather is beautiful here. Sunny, bight blue skies and no smog. To quote our tour guide that only happens once in a blue moon here. Our first stop was Tiananmen Square. You can see the square in the picture below.
Times Square was like a ghost town compared to this place. It was National Day here a couple days ago and the celebration continues here for 8 days. Very hard to take pictures. We continued walking into the Forbidden city next. The picture below is me in front of the Gate of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City.
After we finished with the huge Forbidden City complex it was off to lunch. Lunch was very interesting. There were about fifteen different courses. They would bring out a dish and set it on this lazy-susan type thing in the center of the table. You'd spin it around and everyone would take a helping. Half of the things they brought out we had no idea what they were. We took turns being guinea pigs. If the guinea pig didn't choke the rest of us would then try it. I tried most of the items unless they were fish, those I passed on. Some were very good, some not and some we never could figure out what they were.
After lunch we went to the old part of the city to see how the common working man lives. We rode in rickshaws through the streets of these courtyard type houses. We also visited and walked through one of the houses. The houses have running water but they have to use public toilets. I can't imagine getting up in the middle of the night and having to walk down the street to goto the bathroom. And the toilets in China aren't more than a hole in the ground.
It was then back to the hotel for the night. I am staying at the Marriott City Wall hotel. It's a brand new five star hotel in the center of Beijing. Unfortunately there still was no news on my lost bag when I got back. The tour rep called Air Canada to check on it. They were given my itinerary and have my tour guide's cell phone number are supposed to call when they find it. All my clothes and toiletries are in that bag. I sure hope it turns up soon. The cruise leaves port Monday afternoon, and the first two days are sea days. So I wouldn't get it back until Thursday at the earliest if they don't get it to me here in Beijing.
Visiting the Great Wall tomorrow, will write more then.
nǐ hǎo everyone,|
That's how you say hello in Chinese.
It was another day of perfect weather in Beijing. Not a cloud in the sky all day and still no smog. We began the day by driving into the mountains north of the city to see the Great Wall. It was about a 90 minute drive to get out there. On the way we passed the Bird Nest stadium and other places used during the 2008 Olympics.
As was the case yesterday, there was no shortage of people out at the Great Wall either. It was a pretty steep climb up the wall. You had to push your way through the huge crowd as you walked on the wall. Then when you got to the towers along the way the crowd had to squeeze through these narrow archways. I climbed up as far as I could in the two hours we were given. The huge crowd of people moved very slowly and people were constantly stopping to have their picture taken so I only made it to the fourth tower before I had to turn around and go back. Below are some pictures from the Great Wall which is 5000 miles long.
After the Wall we went to lunch/sales pitch. Lunch was at a jade manufacturer. They had some nice sculptures with some equally nice prices. The lunch was good. Similar to yesterday, they brought out about a dozen different dishes and set them in the center of the tables.
After lunch we went to the Summer Palace. The Summer Place has been a royal retreat since the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). It was a place for the emperor to go to beat the summer heat. We took a boat ride on the lake past the palace.
After the Summer Palace it was back to the hotel for the night. This will be the last night here in Beijing. Tomorrow morning we're going to go to the Temple of Heaven and then have a Peking Duck lunch here in Beijing. Then it is about a three hour drive to Xingang where I will board the Diamond Princess for a 16 day cruise.
Some of the best news came late last night when there was a knock on my door. When I answered there was a bellboy standing there with my missing luggage. I still have no idea why it was delayed. I had over four hours between flights so there was no reason for it to have missed the plane. I have to set it back outside my door in a couple of hours as they are rounding up the big bags and taking them to the ship. I hate to let it go for fear they will lose it again.
Will send more reports from the ship.
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It was another beautiful day in China, but the smog did begin to roll in today. Didn't do a whole lot today. This morning we went to the Temple of Heaven. This is a very interesting place. All the locals go here to socialize. They play games, exercise, sing and dance. It was a fun place just to people watch. Below is a picture of the temple.
It would have been nice to have spent some more time here. But we had to rush off to another sales pitch. This time at a silk dealer where we were given a demonstration of how silk was made. That was followed by lunch and then the three hour drive to the ship. The three day pre-cruise tour that I took here in Beijing was very well done. The tour guide for our group on bus #6, Tom Yang, was very nice and was very interesting to hear him talk about his family and his life in China. Below is a picture of my hotel.
Got to the port about 4:00. This is the first time I have cruised since becoming a platinum member with Princess, so I didn't have to wait in any lines and got priority boarding. Was in my stateroom within five or ten minutes. I was very pleased to learn that I am sailing with my favorite captain again. He was the captain during my 28 day cruise on the Sea Princess last summer. He was great.
We were supposed to sail away at 7:00 but the Chinese officials wouldn't let us leave for some reason. When I went to bed at 11:00 we still had not left so I don't know when they finally let us leave. It is now Tuesday morning and we are sailing in the Yellow Sea between China and North Korea. Weather is still very nice. I was able to do my full hour of laps around the promenade deck this morning. Something I rarely did on my last cruise because it was too cold in Antarctica.
It is a full day at sea today and tomorrow as we make our way to Shanghai. We have a full day in Shanghai on Thursday.
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