Was it only yesterday?
That we were in Tiananmen Square? Walking along the footpath with hundreds, no thousands of Chinese people enjoying the fine Spring weather there in the heart of the capital city?
Today, we had a relatively civilised start to the day since we weren’t scheduled to leave the hotel until 8.30am. Sadly, we missed Jane and Allan’s departure at 6.30, but we made it down to breakfast before Ellis and Mary went off on their day visit to the Great Wall and were able to say goodbye…for now.
It was another dusty day in Beijing and fortunately the traffic wasn’t as busy as we feared, so we were at the airport in good time. After all, I had Yuen burning a hole in my pocket – no point in bringing it home, since it’s one of those currencies which can’t be exchanged outside the country.
Beijing airport is vast and makes Terminal 5 at Heathrow look quite cosy in comparison.
We smiled at the “charging station” and wondered if the owners of the phones/laptops needed charging too?
I found some useful size tins of Tiger Balm (well, Dragon Balm in China), which we find a handy cure-all when travelling (insect bites, fuzzy heads, stuffed up noses, achy limbs….marvellous stuff!) and a couple of small gifts too. But whilst looking around and trying to work out the best combination of things to use those last Y24 I spotted the identical scarf to the one I’d bought in the museum in Shanghai. Hmmm…this was duty free, so how much could I have saved?
Would you believe this one was more expensive? That I paid Y400 and here, the price tag said Y680? Duty Free? I spent my Y24 on some peanut brittle sweets I recognised as some we’d enjoyed last week and moved right along with just 500 of whatever they are – half a yuan, 5p – left.
Before I left, though, I took the chance to sample some hand cream, making sure I sampled a “good” one – look at the price, Y810. That’s £81 or well over $100!
We’d spotted Jane and Allan’s plane out there on the tarmac and gave them a wave – not that they’d have seen us of course, but we waved all the same and after an hour or so in the lounge we were boarding and on our way home too. Ours was an uneventful flight, I was glad of the chance to watch “Life of Pi”, snoozed a little and then watched “Silver Linings Playbook”. The ten and a half hours went in (nearly!) a blink of an eye.
The Chinese Authorities had one last surprise for us when we got home, though. Trying to log into various online accounts, we find several of them (Google, Yahoo and the like) have been disabled and require new passwords and so on. We realised that China didn’t allow use of Google and Facebook but I don’t think either of us realised the implications.
Thank you, China. It’s good to be home!