Thursday, March 5, 2009

We're up early, so ...

Thought I'd post a few notes of interest that I didn't have a chance to mention yesterday. It's 5:30 a.m. here, but I've slept as much as I'm going to for the night. It was actually quite comfortable but we're not yet used to the time difference. Jason went walking around the lobby this morning and he said the bellman and waiter were asleep in chairs. :-)

- It takes some getting used to being considered the foreigner. We haven't been outside the U.S. much so it's definitely unusual for us. Even at the airport the lines through Chinese customs were for "foreigners." It was funny though - when you go through the representative's line at China customs there's a button panel to rate the service you receive. There were four buttons with smileys on them. Each button was for very satisfied, satisfied, waited too long or poor service. Can you imagine if they did that in the U.S. to check customer service??? Ha.

- The hotel room has some interesting amenities. In the bathroom there's the usual assortment of soaps, shower cap - and a condom.

- Our guide told us that cars here are actually affordable but the car tags are extremely expensive. He said the government does that on purpose to keep everyone from owning cars and making the traffic much worse than it already is. Maybe they should do that in Atlanta? I've seen some bike lanes around Beijing and it's a common way to get around. Again, Atlanta should take a cue from other countries.

- Beijing, at least, is by far from being a third-world country. It's a developing country and from the little I've seen so far it's a mix of the historical/traditional combined with modern advancements. There is a lot of construction going on downtown.

- Jason told that during his stroll he found a massage room in the lobby where you can get a 40 minute full-body massage for about $35 and a foot massage for $15. I may have to try that later.

Post more later after our tours. Hopefully we'll have pics for you then too.

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