It all started innocently - reasonably tight pack job and airport drop off from Cindy. But there's something about leaving my regular world on Wednesday evening, and popping up in a very different world on a Friday, with nothing but the blur of that magic sky chair in between that's actually really tiring. August 29, 2013 will never exist for me, I just went from the 28th to the 30th.
Beijing is the largest place I've flown into. Watching the city lights unfold as we descended was mile after mile of developed sprawling metropolis. It's two thirds the population of Canada. Scale of everything really is amazing. The airport is massive like its own city. I got here pretty much at midnight, but could still find plenty of steamed buns.
I haven't had some of these tastes since hanging out with Chinese friends houses where grandma cooked since jr high.
So what was a 1am to 9am experience like in a city of this size in the worlds second busiest airport? I went to the Star Alliance lounge until it closes - slight oversight, the quality of lounge from online review kept me from getting a room somewhere, but it was only open till 1:30. I learned blogger doesn't fly with this regime, and a nice staff girl helped me get wifi traceable to me (basically a passport scan kiosk like we use at home to print boarding passes printed me a code). At closing time I departed to finds a suitable bench to sleep on till 4am when it opened again. It only took about 50 yards of walking until my standards were satisfied. I did consider that I had my mat and bag available in my carry on, but just pulled out a jacket for a pillow to make do.
I was overlooking a 3 story drop to what I presume is a metro train, complete with gigantic escalators down to it, gleaming shiny but all shut for the night. This was up against the 4-5 story hight glass wall overlooking the tarmac. From higher up in the lounge, I could see the building stretch hundreds of meters in all direction openly. If they didn't have shops in here it could be an indoor golf course. So dwarfed by all this I felt like an ant with the roof 10m above and had a completely silent sleep for a couple hours. No people, a single quiet cleaning zamboni that must run off some large battery, no sounds of the building even. Just pin drop silent in a massive industrial creation in one of the worlds most developed giant cities. Weird juxtaposition but pleasant.
The Mongolia flight is the first sign of people with water bottles, cycling looking bodies. Refreshing with a tangy bite.