welcome to China!

Back to Beijing again; haven’t been to China in 8 years.  Right off the bat, I can see that one thing has not changed, whoa!  Can you say air pollution?  Take a look at the shot above from just above Beijing airport.  The Chinese air pollution is just bad bad bad!  But, my visit to Beijing is short – only passing through on my way from Ulaanbatar to Xian, China.

Just like in Mongolia, the fear of swine flu was at full alarm.  At arrival I see H1N1 stations with cameras to capture the temperature of everyone’s face  – anyone with an abnormal temperature was secluded and screened for H1N1.

China is spending a fortune on infrastructure with new airports going up all over.  The existing airports are being retrofitted with the latest technology.  America needs to wake up and realize that we are on a downward (economic) slide; we (Americans) have no clue how much the rest of the world is spending on infrastructure.  China is spending billions to upgrade their roads, bridges, airports, railroads, docks, and industry.  Every airport that I visited in China had (or was installing) the latest technology - flat screen television screens were more common than not.  And get this – their planes actually take off at the departure time – yes, I mean if the departure time is noon, the plane is IN THE AIR at 11:59.  Don’t be late, the plane is taxiing 10 minutes before the departure time.

The Chinese are spending the kind of money that the US spent during the Roosevelt years.  In a decade or two the Chinese will pass us in GDP.  Of course, their environment is taking a toll…

On my flight to Xian I took a few shots.  Many racked out on empty seats to catch some shut-eye.

As part of the pre-movie programming, we were treated to a wonderful military parade and review put on by “team Beijing.”  The 20 minute program was quite impressive.  All of the troops marched smartly (no one was out of step) somewhat akin to the North Koreans.  The review included tanks, trucks, jeeps, radars, rockets, and big huge missiles that looked quite ominous.  I thought that there must be some military memorial or holiday (the next day I would see military parades and reviews in Xian).

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; American based airlines suck!  I really wish that more Americans travelled.  Then we would realize how bad Delta, Northwest, American, and United are.  They really suck bad.  Their staff have a bad attitude, their service sucks, they charge for bags, and they don’t even feed you!  Airlines around the world cost less, don’t charge for bags, give you food (and booze), movies, and treat you like you’re a customer and not a burden.  And get this, you don’t have to check yourself in at some kiosk machine – you are checked in by a real human.  Not only do you have to check yourself in now, the airlines encourage you to “pre-board” and print your own pass.  Don’t be surprised if you show up to the airport and have to pay a $10 “forgot your pre-printed” boarding pass fee.

I think we should all refuse to use the kiosk machines and print our own passes.  American airline carriers really do suck…

My flight from Beijing to Xian was only an hour or two and we had 3 (three) drink service rounds – the same number that United offered on a 14 hour Shanghai to San Francisco flight.

I decided to try the local cuisine.  In this case, some pork inside of a roll.  It was really good.


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