We have arrived in Ulaan Bataar and are now settled into the humble but clean hotel, Zaluuchuud, which means “youth” in Mongolian. It was a very, very long flight Chicago-Beijing then 8 hours in Beijing, which we made the most of and a night flight to Ulaan Bataar and a warm greeting from my host. “We” is Karima – my daughter – and myself – she is holding up well despite a long and rather tense encounter by the people that stamp the passport because there wasn’t a good place to stamp it — it had many stamps already – so they kept us waiting, exhausted, for nearly an hour until they did the inevitable – stamped it!
In Beijing we ended up quite by accident in a huge gathering for a parade, Oct. 1 – 6. The throng, well-disciplined but not particularly in a disposition of fun and gaiety, was so overwhelming they closed two subway stops – the ones we needed to get back to the airport! So we had to walk an additional mile, following a map written only in Chinese to find the station.
Time difference? Well, you just set your clock “forward” one hour which really means you just lost 13 hours and a whole night’s sleep. So instead of 2 AM in Chicago, it suddenly became 3 PM in Beijing and we were in the middle of the day! It has worked out well, though, because now a good night’s sleep is ahead, in the real nighttime!
It was exciting to be in Beijing, however briefly – my first time in China, and first time in Asia, except for Iran. Very well organized and lots and lots of technology. Everyone is peering into their phone all the time, even more than in the States. And there’s a cool ad on the subway that looks like a “flip the pages” book – the images stream by as you ride with just a small variation in each image, giving the impression of movement.