Beijing, China: Oops. Did I forget to mention we were going to China? You didn't think we were going to miss the World Championships, did you?
After Lucy blew-out her first birthday candle, after the kitchen was tidied, after everyone went to bed... DT and I went to LAX and boarded a plane to Hong Kong. Then we transferred to a plane to Beijing, where we will attend the 9-day-long IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
It's how we roll.
I have set a world-record (for me) for light packing. I apologize to my pals also attending the track meet for having to smell see me in the same few outfits over the next nine days.
Our Cathay Pacific flight from Los Angeles left at one o'clock in the morning (Thursday) and happily landed one hour ahead of schedule into Hong Kong (early Friday morning). It was still a 14-hour flight. We had Business Class seats that converted into beds and were able to catch many hours of sleep on the flight. After a quick transfer, we boarded another Cathay flight to Beijing.
We filled-out our immigration cards on board the Hong Kong-to-Beijing flight:
Being away for so long, it took about five seconds for me to recall a few things about the culture. No matter that 50 people are behind you when entering an escalator - if you need to stop at the top of the moving stairs to talk with a friend... everyone will just have to wait behind you.
And I forgot about the smoking. 100% guaranteed this outdoor smoking area at the airport is only to appease western tourists. Not sure what explains a Buddha made of cans of tuna, but the rest of the airport was filled with IAAF World Championship banners, help desks and friendly volunteers. On the shuttle to our hotel, we were amazed that IAAF banners lined the entire 45-minute drive. It must have been tens of thousands of banners! Remember what I said about about smoking? Our entire hotel is designated "non-smoking", but our room pretty-much reeks of cigarette smoke. Maybe it is because our "non-smoking" room has an ashtray? I'm taking the bed on the right.
No time to relax after our flight. We had to head out to get our tickets, ID and accreditations. Only losers walk around the world championships without 5-10 lanyards around their neck.
We met Vin and Elizabeth for dinner and came back to our room to finally crash. No time to get used to the time change, the meet begins tomorrow morning.
Until my next update, I remain, your Beijing correspondent.
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IAAF World Championships