Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beijing Itinerary - Day 1 Stay, relax, and warm up our engine to eat!!!

Our Air China flight from Singapore to Beijing

My dear son and I took a direct Air China flight from Singapore to Beijing that night. We spent our time watching movie from each personalized screen in front of us, had our late meal served inside the plane, and slept only for few hours before we finally reached Beijing early in the morning.

Took the shuttle train to the collecting luggage area at Beijing Capital International Airport 

We sat in the middle of the plane. Therefore, we couldn't see the view outside. However, the pilot announced that the temperature outside was at 2 degree Celcius and we could feel that we both shivered despite wearing a piece of sweater on top of our shirt and the cold penetrated to our skin and bones after getting out from the plane. We walked faster trying to reach the warmer area of the building.

Baobei in full gear :)

After collecting our luggage, I opened my bag and took our winter clothes out. We equipped ourselves with warm feather jacket, gloves, shawl and hat and wore it immediately, then went out to the arrival hall, looking for my Beijing friend, Hong Mei, who had agreed to pick me up from the airport. However, after walking few rounds in the arrival hall, I hadn't seen her single shadow yet. "Hmm... it can't be that she forgets that I reach Beijing today ba??" mumbled me.

I saw public phone not far from the arrival's exit door. Next to it, there was a machine selling varieties of phone cards. Few people were seen standing around it. I walked towards the machine. With my limited knowledge of the Chinese language, I touched the screen here and there, and tried to understand the varieties of cards available. Still wondering around, I overheard a Chinese lady assisting a non-Chinese nationality lady about the sim card. Eh?? Sim card?? 

I immediately approached the lady, who I found to be the seller of the sim card. She said she would assist me once she was done with her customer. Wah... I didn't expect I could get my prepaid sim card that fast. Indeed I needed one to contact my friend while staying there, also to browse data and local map online. After some time waiting, it was my turn and it was done! I called my friend immediately and she said she was stuck in the traffic jam due to a heavy haze. Haze??? 

Outside the Beijing Capital International Airport - Heavy haze surrounding us!!!

My son and I went outside the building. Woww!!! It's freezing! I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, "Hmmm.... oh winter, here I come!!!" I was so exciting and opening my arms widely! But wait, I smelled something familiar! What's that? Haze! Yeah, it's haze!!! I thought we just got rid from it some time back in Singapore?  And now, here in Beijing??? Omg!! ^^"

It was my son's first time experiencing winter season in his whole life. He was very much exciting with it! He saw the leftover snow at a far - it was snowing just days before we reached there. The coldness that he experienced, was something unexpected. We stood there on the roadside waiting for my friend to come. With miscommunication about the location to pick us up, we only managed to see each other only a while later. But she indeed came together with her husband :)

We chit chatted inside the car. She was explaining to me why they were coming late. The haze that day was unbelievably serious and it caused heavy traffic on the road they took to reach the airport. They worried that the rest of the days would be like that and my holiday would be ruined. I told her not to worry, that tomorrow the sun would come and the sky would turn bright, as they knew that my son and I was coming! Hahaha.. and she was just laughing to my optimism and positive thought :D

Our first meal in Beijing - Steamed vegetable bun and wheat porridge :)

On our way to their house, they were asking us if we were hungry. Well, we were a little bit hungry though. So they stopped at one local food chain selling steamed bun, dumpling, porridge, and so on. We had our first breakfast there :)

When we ate, Hong Mei told me that Xi Jin Ping, their current President, loved eating the steamed bun sold from this food chain. And she proudly recommended me eating this vegetable steamed bun. Only my son and I ate them as she and her husband had already eaten their breakfast at home. 

We would be staying at their rented home most of the nights throughout our journey at the new residential area (Shun Yi District) built only after year 2007. Before that, the place was still plantation area. The development was just too fast as the government had to accommodate their people outside the city area that had already been too packed. 

Dong Dong and Baobei :)

My friend's seven-year old daughter, Dong Dong, was very happy with our arrival. They usually seldom received guests at their home. And I was only among few oversea friends that Hong Mei still contacted from her school time at that period (back in late 1990s).

She was very exciting when unwrapped our little gifts from Singapore. She kept shouting, "Wow... Mama, hen piao liang!!!" which means, "very beautiful!!!" She then went into our room and asked me why I stayed at their home for only ten days? And why not one month? Hahaha... I was laughing listening to her innocent question :D She was a clever and chatty girl. When she was at home, the house was full of her voice. 

In the afternoon, Hong Mei cooked white noodle with tomato and egg - the simple Beijing local dish for lunch. She worried that we got hungry easily so she cooked our portion too despite our stomach were still packed with the bun. I took just a small bowl and let them eating more.

With snow and haze from their house's balcony

After lunch Dong Dong and Baobei went to the balcony and Baobei wanted to touch and play with the snow. It wasn't that much but it was good enough for him to experience the real snow. Just too bad, it wasn't snowing.

I didn't plan to go anywhere on our first day there. Just wanted to take a good rest since we didn't have enough sleep in the airplane. Both of us ended up sleep for few hours before it was time for dinner. And the sky turned dark when it was approaching 5pm in the evening. Oh, welcome back to winter life... It'd really been some time since I had one and I almost forgot about it! 

Happy Birthday Zhi Bu and Hong Mei!!! :)

Coincidentally, the day I arrived was Zhi BuHong Mei's husband's Birthday and the next day was Hong Mei's Birthday. They had planned to celebrate both birthday together that night and inviting us and Hong Mei's parents for dinner at local restaurant not too far from their house and lucky us that on our first night, we managed to eat our first roasted Beijing duck together with many delicious local Chinese dishes on the table!!! - see the photo above :)

Me, Hong Mei, and Dong Dong :)

I was very happy meeting Hong Mei's parents once again. I met them before many years ago and surprisingly they too still remembered me! We had our dinner happily and I managed to taste Yanjing beer - local produced Beijing beer there hehehe... Remember? A bottle of beer was cheaper than a bottle of soft drink in China!!! So, I started ordering beer in most of my dinner during my stay there in Beijing ;D

Hong Mei and her families :)
She ordered a delicious cheese cake too from Wedome, a bakery chain that was quite famous producing delicious and fresh cream cakes. Hmmm.... I felt I already gained two kilos just from my first day there :P So, more story to come! Stay tune on my blog! :)


Tashi Chenzom said...

So you did post...i was waiting for it. As always happy to go through your beautiful experiences. Sorry, I have been bit busy here and couldn't read your blog.
Take care and miss you!!

Rima Reyka said...

I'm glad to see your comment here Tashi! Despite being occupied with your holiday, you still spared your time reading my blog. Kadinche-la :) Hope you are enjoying your holiday back home! Miss you! ^^

Choki Gyeltshen said...

Looks like food is good in Beijing!

Rima Reyka said...

Food taste is definitely good. However, take it at your own risk as many food and alcohol drinks were deemed unsafe for consumption, due to preservative, fake stuffs, and some were contaminated :P

Sonam Choden said...

I envy your life.. really.. and by going through your posts, I can feel my presence there too.. hehe

Rima Reyka said...

Thank you for going through Sonam! Wish you a wonderful week ahead! :)

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