It seems like I’ve been neglecting my blog, one thing I always seem to do. I’ve been here in Bejijng for 12 days and I’ve already seen so much and am starting my second week of working here at the China Daily. For this first blog, I think I’ll start with my trip to Beijing then I’ll catch up to where I am currently since most days I don’t do anything, but work all day so not much exciting goes on.
I’ll try to spare the boring parts, but the journey really begins once I got on the plane at Dulles International Airport. It was direct from Washinton, D.C to Beijing Capital Airport, 14 hours.
It was a bit of an annoyance, but for the first hour or so on the plane, I was sitting next to a young Chinese university student on his way back home who grilled me on why I was going to China and why I was interested in interning at the China Daily, a state-run publication. He couldn’t understand the fact that I want to be a journalist, well, that I am a journalist, and experience is experience. What better a place to get international reporting experience than in the PRC if you have the connections through your school?
All that aside, although it felt like a lifetime, I made it to Beijing, bewildered since I didn’t speak any of the language. The next couple hours after arriving were some of the most stressful times of my life. The plan was that I was supposed to get there, get online with the airport WIFI and contact my friend who was going to meet me at the airport to take me to our hotel. I was supposed to be able to check my email and he would have sent me his phone number for me to call him after I got a sim card for my cell phone. The problem was that there was no free Internet in the airport and you could only use it if you were on a departing flight. The information desk directed me to the “business center” where I would be able to get online and check my email, but when I finally checked it, there was no email from my friend. Apparently he got on a different flight and didn’t get to Beijing till later than he was supposed to. So here I was stranded in the airport with no contact and on top of that my cell phone battery was dead.
Fear not, for I eventually charged my phone as this ghetto charging station where you attach your battery, and was able to get online later on my phone to send an email to Eric to call my number which he eventually got his. From there I got in a taxi where the driver at first told me “no” when I handed him the address in English and I had to call Eric to have him tell the driver where to go in Chinese. When I did get to the hotel, I found out about 30 minutes later as I waited for Eric that I was at the wrong hotel, as our hotel was a chain with about 15 hotels of the same name. From here I went into a shop and handed my phone to a woman holding a baby who then was able to help me get another taxi and tell the driver where to take me.
It turns out that I was on the complete other side of the city from where I needed to be. After I got out of the taxi, I met my friend who I hadn’t seen in weeks since we were in State College, PA. We got to the hotel and that was the end of my long and tiresome journey before we went out to dinner that night.
I arrived at Beijing Capital Airport at 2:30 pm. From the time it took me to get through customs, get my baggage and face all these troubles till I met my friend, Eric, it was about 8 pm when I finally arrived at the correct hotel and was about to go out to dinner. Nonetheless, I was triumphant and hungry.