Sunday, March 23, 2014

How to Enjoy an Additional 9 Hours Stuck In Beijing

Well, I mentioned Mongolia's winds kept me airport bound last Sunday 9 hours longer than it should have.  It's possible that I jinxed myself, because as I was hustling down to my gate in the first place, I noticed the fountain and thought, "If I ever get stuck in Beijing an ungodly length of time again, I can work on a blog about it."  Well, the sad thing is, there's really not that much good to say about Beijing's international terminal.  This is what I came up with to do...
 1. Look at all the teapots for sale, and try to take sneaky pictures.  I'm introducing ceramics to my art program this year, and one of my classes will be hand-building a teapot.  I wrote up an actual, real lesson plan and everything, and am planning to use an excerpt from Sherlock.  I bought a couple of teapots in Pearl City last Saturday, but there was a bigger selection at the airport, a fact that I mourned for just long enough to realize how much more expensive airport teapots are.  Then I decided to take some photos so I could show a greater variety of examples.  Which the ladies at the tea place did NOT like.  I tried to go back and get more later, with my phone turned on silent.  It didn't work.
2. Visit Starbucks.  Again.   And again.  We don't have Starbucks in Mongolia.  Since I don't drink coffee, I don't miss it that much, but when I get the chance to enjoy a caramel cream frappucino, I take it!  Their mozzarella tomato basil sandwich thing is pretty good, too.  Not as good as Pizza Hut, but faster, more portable, and since Round Table moved into UB, the fact that they use actual pepperoni doesn't hold as much water as it used to.
3. Revisit past Beijing Airport experiences and wonder what might have been.  'Nuff said.
4. Pretend you're somewhere in China besides the Beijing Airport.  Ugh.  Seriously.  I'd deal with the stinky tofu if I could trade being here for being in a real water town.
5. Enjoy the melodic sounds of the fountain.  Except that there's no bench nearby on which to sit, and you're so crazy after being stuck here for six hours that climbing in has started to sound like a good idea.  So maybe the fountain's not such a great place to hang out at this point.

There's no McDonald's or Burger King or really any good restaurants once you're in the international terminal, and the security process is "thorough" enough that unless you're into that sort of thing, leaving is probably not worth it.  There is no Facebook or Youtube on that side of the Great Firewall, either, so you'd best hope you have a book or two, because being stuck in Beijing is hell.  If you're heading towards Mongolia in spring, you're better off going through another airport.  Like Seoul.  Which, given my luck, you may be hearing about in three weeks, but I'll be a lot happier in Incheon, for SO many reasons.

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