24 hours and 15 minutes door to door and I am finally in Beijing! The flights were pretty smooth except for the unnecessary stress I had the entire time because of my medication and the refusal of the airline staff to refrigerate it for me. Consequently, I had to get a new ice pack every three hours, which continued to melt, leak through the bag and drip onto me. Regardless, I was very happy to have started off the trip by watching Mulan and doing some reading in our China Entrepreneur book by Juan Antonio Fernandez and Laurie Underwood. The IES staff greeted us at the airport and bused us to our hotel which took a long time because traffic in Beijing is insane. The highway was bumper to bumper; there were car accidents everywhere and when this happens people just get out of their car, in the middle of a three lane highway, and scream at each other in the street causing a three lane backup. It was chaos. After checking into the Qianmen Jianguo Hotel and settling into our beautiful rooms for the next 6 days we reconvened in the lobby for dinner at 6pm. I did not enjoy the restaurant for dinner and I started to get very nervous about the food I would be forced to eat for the remainder of my time in China. During dinner we enjoyed Chrysanthemum Tea which is a soothing tea that helps the body relax and after a couple of glasses not only was keeping my eyes open a difficult task, I nearly rested my head on the table and called it a night.
After dinner we had a walking tour of the town and with my exhaustion this was painful. I was pretty much a walking zombie, as was the majority of the group.
When we got back to the hotel it was 8:30 and the crowd rallied back up because it was the last night of the Beer Garden that was happening right outside in the parking lot of the hotel. Mariette, our on-site coordinator and Professor Mulchay, our Entrepreneurship in China Professor, even joined us and we ended up having a blast!
Jared and I at the Beer Garden