After getting through passport control and customs, we headed to a van that drove us to our hotel. I learned from Xiumin on the ride that Beijing has not one, but six beltways around the city. On the way we drove by the Olympic village and the famous birds nest stadium- we hope to visit it on our travels!
We arrived at the hotel around 4:30 and my main goal was to stay awake long enough to try to adjust to this time zone, which is a full twelve hours later! With the help of our guide I tried to find a magic shop to visit. As I had learned before I left, magic shops here are largely temporary, and this was indeed the case, as all the ones we called no longer existed. (A magician did invite me to a shop in his home- I am adventurous but not THAT adventurous!). I decided to walk around the surrounding streets and did so for about a hour. A couple of things really struck me. First of all, bicycles and motorbikes shared the busy streets with cars, and motorized richshaw-like vehicles loaded with all kinds of objects- mainly recyclables- also share the road. When I was here 13 years ago, though, there were many more bicycles. I was also struck by the fact that, during my hour long walk, I saw no other non-Chinese people. I came back to the hotel and ate a Chinese/Korean/Japanese dinner. I have already put my Chinese-English translation app to good use when ordering! I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the group and a full day of touring tomorrow!