According to plan, we arrived in Beijing
at 11:00pm China time...which was 11:00am on Thursday in our home state of FL.
We had the usual wait and hurry, hurry and wait kind of plane exit.
(Does leaving a plane give you a few moments of panic that you may have left some--extremely important--item tucked in some comfortable corner of the plane and you won't know you are missing it until that item is essential?? It does me...especially after a 12 hour and 41 minute flight in which I've tucked and rearranged more than once.)
Our group of 24 made it through deplaning, clearing customs, locating luggage and bathrooms without losing anyone. We dragged our over-packed bags and our tired little bodies with enthusiasm reserved for end-of-trip reuniting with friends and family. Mark and I were not only back to a land we've grown to love, but we had some necks we were looking forward to hugging: our son, Justin who has been in the Philippines for 3 weeks, and some of our American friends who are ex-pats here in Ch*na.
(warm fuzzies for Momma to get her hands on that boy, even if only for the shortest of seconds. His hugs are famous!)
Necks were hugged, and we were off.
We quickly met Oliver, our guide, who shook our hands and said,
"Stay right here. I will be back in a minute."
And within 3 minutes of meeting, we were parted...
Most of the group headed to the bus, leaving Mark, Austin and me to wait for Oliver.
Bye kids! Not one of the 3 needed to touch base with us.
(You can read a previous blog regarding launching our kids as soon as
I figure out how to make those links on my blog.)
I can do wait.
There is so much to watch in the Beijing airport at midnight.
We were met by the van and loaded our
6 full-size pieces of luggage,
4 backpacks and
3 people into a
9 passenger van.
Then we drove to the next exit, and loaded 7 more people and their luggage. The last passenger actually sat in the front, nearly on the lap of the driver's assistant, with two suitcases crammed between them and the driver.
True Ch*na living at it's best.
We arrived at the hotel uneventfully and settled in for a very short night.
When the wake-up call came at 4:15am, we were easily out of bed and quietly slid down to a lobby by 4:40am...which was FULL of people also waiting for the van to the airport.
That airport is also hopping at 5:15am!
When we arrived in Baotou, we were met by the rest of the family of our American ex-pat friends...and everyone but the Momma has grown this year!
2 taxis and 5 flights of stairs (thank you, boys!) later,
we were met with cinnamon rolls made by Timo, and fresh fruit for breakfast.
(yeah! Dragonfruit is one of my favorites here!)
Matt has grilled something delicious smelling and we'll soon have lunch. The rest of the day will include enjoying our friends, chatting, moving into the hotel and chatting.Until tomorrow...