We have made it safe and sound to Beijing. Despite a rather tight transfer at Dulles (Michele limping along) we made our connection and had a relatively uneventful flight. Sam handled the ordeal rather well with only a slight meltdown about 9 hours into the flight. Thank goodness for the portable DVD player!
The sights, sounds and smells of Beijing are familiar as we are staying at the Novetel Peace Hotel not far from where we stayed 2 years ago. Tomorrow we head out to Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven and we will probably venture out on the "Walking Street" in the center of Beijing. We will also go to see a side street nearby where you can see all sorts of strange barbecued items for sale! We will look but not sample. Sam is looking forward to this with much excitement.
One of the things that jumped out at me on our last visit was the number of workers working at any number of tasks. Not sure if it is driven by work ethic or an authoritative management style coupled with a huge number of people needing work. A couple of examples. First, at the airport there is a yellow safety line painted around each luggage carrosel. I saw a woman on hands and knees scrubbing one of these yellow lines. This is simply something you do not see in America - we just repaint. Second, as I was typing this post in the internet cafe in a French hotel in Beijing, an Australian guest was walking across the lobby and tripped on a raised piece of tile. Looks like she may have hurt her foot. Immediately, at least two workers went to her aid, and what looks like a floor supervisor did the same. Next, within about two minutes the French "shift supervisor" has come down to talk to the guest, offer appologies, etc. What appears to be the Chinese hotel manager has come down to inspect the floor. No less than 4 workers have looked it over. The amout of attention to such a detail is remarkable compared to our standards (not sure what the personal injury practice is like here in China). Now before you get to be too impressed, through all this attention the problem will be solved by taping down the tile with clear packaging tape. The world is an amazing place.
Our thoughts remain on Jack, and our two daughters back home. Michele and I breifly discussed the fear creeping into our thoughts as we approach zero hour. Apprehension, excitement and fear are all not far from our minds as we get ready to take on this new responsiblity. It is a joy and blessing to have this opportunity, nevertheless, we cannot help but feel anxious.
Blessings to all.