Day 1 – Here we go…

Beijing, China

Here we go!  Another trip is here!

And of course, another long, oh so very long, travel day…

Naturally, I got very sleep last night as a million things were swirling in my head.

By 8:30am I was all packed up and ready to go.

First thing, a long 2 hour transit trip out to YVR airport.

Ah, good ol Translink.

2 hours!


So, after a bus and three different skytrains I arrived at the aiport at just before 11am to checkin for my 12:40 flight.

I think this was my first flight on Air Canada in quite awhile and, I have to say, they amused me greatly with their ridiculous boarding procedure.

As I’ve said before I always stay seated while everyone scurries to stand in line to board the plane.

I can’t for the life of me figure out why people are in such a hurry to get on a plane that won’t actually leave until the last person in line is seated…

But I digress…

Anyway, like I said, Air Canada has a ridiculous boarding procedure.

You see, they don’t just have one boarding line.

Nope, they have five.

Line 1 for first class, line 2 for business class and going up to Line 5 for the back of the airplane.

So, while they boarded people in lines 1 and 2, the other 3 lines just stood there forever waiting.

And these weren’t short lines as there were 450 people boarding.

By the time they got to the last line, people had been standing in line for almost an hour.

An hour!

Who the hell stands in line for an hour waiting to board a plane?!?

Anyway, as the final line finished I casually got up and walked over to the counter and walked onto the plane.

Stupid, stupid people.

The plane, of course, was now behind schedule and to make matters worse, they didn’t have enough room for all the carryon bags so we sat on the tarmac for another half hour as they checked in all the extra baggage.

There’s something to be said for the discount airlines strict limits on carryon bags as you could see people blatantly abusing the carryon system but bringing in bags upon bags.

For me, I just bring my little daypack which I store underneath my seat.

Anyway, after an hour delay, we were on our way.

Beijing here we come!

The flight was 11 hours and again, I didn’t really manage to sleep so when we arrived at just after 4pm local (midnight Vancouver time) I was pretty tired.

I figure I might have slept 2 hours total in the last day and a half.

Usually getting through immigration and picking up your bag is pretty quick, but, this being one of the largest airports in the world, the process took a significantly longer time.

An hour and a half to be precise.

So, at just before 6pm I was finally on my way to my hostel via the AREX airport subway line (25yuan, $5).

The subway was pretty straight forward and took just under an hour.

From there I had to catch a city bus for a few stops to get to my hostel.

Now, taking a subway in a new city is one thing but taking a bus in a new city is a whole other challenge.

You see, subways almost always have signage in English and it’s pretty straight forward how to get to point A to point B.

Buses, on the other hand have no signage in English and it’s not like there’s flashing lights at the bus stops telling you where to get off.

I did take it upon myself to take a look at the street view on Baidu maps (Chinese version of Google maps) to follow the bus route and I wrote down which stores to be on the lookout for before each bus stop.

This actually helped out immensely and I managed to get to my bus stop pretty effortlessly.

As I got off the bus and gave myself a little cheer on a job well done and headed up the street to my hostel.

A smile came to me ear to ear as I walked down the little lane past all the little shops being the only foreigner around.

It was at this point when it finally became real that I was on yet another adventure.

Here we go…

DPRK Trip 2018, Trip Journal
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