My departing flight, Feb 15, from Newark airport and landed in Beijing International airport. That morning, I caught the bus from Grand Central to the Continental Airlines terminal at Newark. All went off without a hitch.
The 13 hour direct flight was remarkably manageable. I had imagined that I would be pulling my hair out by the end, but the endless selection of movies and food (yes, food) made the time pass very quickly. We were very well fed on that international flight.
I took the precaution of ordering vegetarian meals to be sure they did not run out of offerings by the time they got to me in coach. However, no worries, there was plenty to go around.
Spent one night at the Eastern Air Hotel near the Beijing airport (booked via Sinohotel website w/assistance of Google Chrome translation services) so as to assure catching the onward flight to Kashgar (stopover Urumqi). Otherwise, I would have had to do it in Chinese.
Chinese hotels take a little adjustment. The electricity is controlled by a console located between 2 beds. It reminds me of a car’s dashboard, much more complicated than our own one switch for every light system. Also, flushing the toilet requires special attention – be sure to hold the handle until all the water has drained the basin. The floors/carpetting is generally disgustingly dirty, so make ample use of the complimentary slippers.
I booked flight to Kashgar (China Air) on the elong website, also taking advantage of the online translation service. I paid with Paypal to take advantage of their “no currency exchange fee” offer. Paypal is a very impressive payment service. Wonder if they are a publicly traded company?
I planned to go as far west as possible and wend my way back towards Beijing over the next 2 weeks.
Attached are a few pictures from the Urumqi airport.