25 March, 2011

A post from Cody

Kristen always says that my stories have too many details, so keep that in mind and decide if you want to keep reading. I probably won't be posting as much as Kristen does, but I wanted to share a couple things that I've observed since we arrived in China.

Our flight leaving Atlanta was scheduled to depart at 10:10am on Wednesday so we thought it would be best to spend the night at a hotel near the airport. We were supposed to arrive three hours before departure and didn't want to risk being late due to the unpredictable Atlanta traffic. Since we were so excited about our trip, Kristen woke up at 3:30 and I woke up at 4:15...and we never fell back asleep. At 6:30 we left our hotel and ended up getting checked in to our flight right at 7:00. Security was a breeze and by 7:30 we were sitting at our gate. Well, we ended up sitting there for almost four hours. Our flight got delayed over and over again. We had a 5 hour layover in Seattle, so we weren't worried about making our connection, but I had family coming to the airport to see us while we were in Seattle. This was a rough way to start our journey across the world but, fortunately, this was the only snag we had the entire trip.

26 hours after getting to the airport (32 hours since we woke up ) we arrived in Beijing at 9:00 on Thursday night. It’s a very strange feeling to know that you lost an entire day, somehow. The other strange thing about our flight is that the sun didn’t set until just before we got to China. We were basically chasing the sun around the globe for 26 hours.

The plane we flew on from Atlanta to Seattle was huge with a ton of legroom...the plane from Seattle to China, not so much. Kristen and I tried our best to get comfortable and sleep for a bit, but after about 30 minutes my leg would be the only thing falling asleep. I might have slept a total of two hours on that twelve hour flight. Somehow I felt pretty good when we finally arrived in Beijing, though. My sleep schedule reminded me of the one Kramer tried on Seinfield.

Once we arrived in Beijing, we went through customs which was as interesting insight into how “standing in line” works here. There were several lines that you could choose from and they either said “Chinese National” or “Foreigner.” It was funny/annoying to me to hear Americans walk up and say, “Um, which line should we get in? Are we foreigners?” Yes, believe it or not, you are foreign to this country. The lines were very long but at one point, they opened two more lines to ease congestion. You would think they opened a line for free bags of money! As soon as that line opened up, there was a mad dash to get to it...and I do mean mad dash. So many people left our line that we just stayed in it and moved up and now only had about 20 people in front of us. Then a police officer walked up and pointed to the other line and half of the people moved over there. Alright! We just picked up another 10 spots in line. Not so fast. The sign for the line we were in changed from “Foreigner” to “Chinese National” right in front of our eyes. We were now in the wrong line and had to move to the back of the original long line we were in before.

Once we made it through customs we found our guide, Forest, and he took us out to the van. This is where we learned another important lesson about China. Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way here. We walked up to a cross walk, stood there for a few seconds and saw an opening (about three car lengths long). Kerry began to cross but our guide pulled him back. The car that was coming down the road had plenty of time to slow down, but the thought didn’t even cross his mind. He flew by, missing us by a foot or so. We stood there for about a minute, until we had a VERY clear path to cross.

We made it safely to the van and then the next adventure started...driving. I have to say, driving here looks like a ton of fun! There doesn’t seem to be many rules and when you want to change lanes, you just move over. The guy next to you won’t want to let you in but will eventually be forced to once you are about 3” from hitting him. And pedestrians? Well, they are more like obstacles that magically move for you when you get close to them. Everywhere you look there are mopeds and bicycles. They drive between you and the parked cars on the street, cut in and out where there is just enough room for them to get by, and also don’t stop for pedestrians.

After about a 30 minute drive, we arrived at our hotel. We are staying at the Trader’s Hotel in a very modern part of the city. The architecture around us is amazing! 

I have a lot more to write, but we are getting ready to leave. Today we will see The Great Wall of China!


  1. I have to say, I enjoyed reading all the lovely details of the trip so far. I was def entertained!!:) You two are sooo much fun and Mae is super lucky to have both of you (words cant even explain). When will you finally have her in your arms? I have been thinking of you guys ALOT and keep reminding Presley that her friend will be here soon. haha Shes all smiles everytime of course. Cant wait to see you.
    Lots of love.

    The Carlon Family :)

  2. nice post, daddy :) Yes, crossing the street in China is very much like the game frogger!

  3. "your not in Kansas anymore"..traveling aboard always gives us an appreciation for the good ole USA.
    Good commentary Cody. On your way home you get your day back..twice.


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