In one trip, I’ve ticked off one bucket list item I’ve been wanting to do ever since my first trip in China in 2004 and… I’ve also had my most horrible experience in the airport. At the end of the day, I’m glad I was able to see the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City.
After getting a quick tour of the Forbidden City and a bucket list check moment by being in the Great Wall of China, we were rushing to the airport to catch our flight to Hong Kong and then the connecting to Manila. There was nothing irregular on our flight except being a few minutes delayed from our 4 pm boarding time and the extra stringent security check. When we were seated in our plane, I started watching a movie and that’s where all the mis-adventures started.
There were several delay announcements owing to air traffic control, which felt normal coming from a country where flight delays are so normal. I barely noticed the time since I finished 2 movies already and that was 5 hours inside the plane. From Air Traffic Control to the Smoggy Beijing Skies to Heavy Rains. By 9 pm, it was impossible to travel and we were asked to go-out of the plane and go to the one of the bay areas for the announcement of our food and hotel arrangements. We had to queue for about an hour as they had to cancel our departure at the immigration and upon reaching the bay, we were informed that our flight would be scheduled tom at 10 am and for our hotel and food arrangements, there was none.
We managed to find a hotel, which we were only able to use for a few hours since we had to re check-in early the next day. All announcement were in Chinese so we were practically lost in translation. By the time, we reached the counter, we’ve been informed that the flight is overbooked. How can you get booked out of your own flight, right? They booked us to the 4 pm flight on the same day since they didn’t want to book us on the earlier available flight since they were not confident that the plane is coming. That followed a series of flight that got filled out suddenly. The delay was prevalent though and we managed to leave Beijing at 11 pm and once we hit Hong Kong early the next day, it felt that our world was back in full color after being helpless for 2 days in Beijing. So I guess, every time I have an airport mishap, I’ll just remember this experience and it would make me feel better. Even if this trip was a few months ago, the experience still does haunt me.
Bucket List Check Beijing
I’ve been wanting to see Beijing ever since the first time, I’ve been in China in 2004. I appreciated the cosmopolitan setting of both Shanghai and Hangzhou and felt the remoteness of Shandong in my several trip to China but Beijing has always been the elusive one. Well, up until August this year as our Board Meeting was scheduled in Beijing. We had a comfortable entry to China since we were on premium seats owing to the late booking. We were able to visit a high end retirement home that had all the facilities to live the comfortable life. We had a smooth board meeting and it was time to explore for the next 1 1/2 days.
On any day it would have been impossible to enter the Forbidden City since there were numerous visit and you have to really be early. It was good that our China based Director was able to arrange everything and we had a smooth entry at the Forbidden City. It’s a lavish Kingdom fortified by pillars of defenses. It’s an impenetrable fortress that kept Kingdoms and Dynasties secured from invaders. There was history written on the walls and the displays.
It’s among the most visited sites in the world. It’s a palace complex that housed dynasties and has been the political center of China. It took us several hour exploring the whole complex and was just barely on time reaching one of the gates before it closed for the day.
The Great Wall of China
Despite the short stay in China, we were able to squeeze in the Great Wall of China. We were able to get a cab who would take us early to the Great Wall and take us to the airport after as arranged by one of our Chinese Directors. We were picked up at arrange 6 am in our hotel, was able to see the Olympic Stadium before heading to the Great Wall.
Just setting foot on the Great Wall meant so much for me since it’s always been on my to do list. I remember before I would always reserve an extra entry on my Chinese Visa so if time permits, I’d be able to travel to Beijing and see the Great Wall. It’s such a massive structure that’s really worth visiting. We took a bus ride and then a cable car to the top of the Great Wall of China.
Traversing the Great Wall was not an easy feat as it’s a rolling terrain so you’ll have climb several sections and descend on steep steps too. It was surreal being on top of the Great Wall. It was foggy or smoggy that day. I would like to think its fog because it feels a bit chilly up the wall.
It was a really long walk in the walls and we’ve been walking for kilometers just to see several sections of the wall. We were just on the look out on the time as we had to be done before noon in order to catch our flight. There were several pillars in the walls that led to another section of the wall.
I was just glad even we had a very short trip, we still got the chance to explore this ancient structures. I always love visiting heritage sites as it feels me connected with tradition and heritage. We learn so much and we appreciate the greatness of the thinkers back then.
By 11 am, we were on the way back and had our lunch at Burger King before taking our cab to the airport. I guess seeing the Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China made the trip and the succeeding misadventures worth it. Sometimes, you just have to look at the brighter side and I’ve been at two of the main attractions in China and it was really worth seeing.