The flight was about as smooth as it could have been. When you depart Los Angeles at 1am, and fly up over the arctic circle and back down to Beijing, you actually get to watch the sunrise about six times.
The in-flight entertainment was perfect. I hadn’t seen the Hobbit, and I watched it once while dozing off the whole time, and another time while paying closer attention and peeking out at the sunrise from time to time.
The arrival could have been better. It was disconcerting to show up in a foreign place with no luggage. But luckily the airline was friendly enough to drop it off at my hotel by the end of the day.
The hotel is lovely, it has wonderful artwork on the walls, free slippers, and humorous signs in the bathroom.
At first sight, I am happy to be here. We’re leaving early in the morning for the Mabian Nature Reserve, so I have to get some rest now. But there will be much more to come, soon.