Day 1: Trip to Beijing

The trip started with a quite long 7-hour flight from Helsinki to Beijing. That's my always-happy friend Juhani sitting in the plane and his brother Jari.

During this entire trip, where we flew 6 flights on 6 planes on 3 different airlines altogether, I formed the quite well-founded theory that all airline companies around the world have a common conspiracy about serving horrible food. In every meal there must be something that just tastes horrible or is in some way barely edible.

During the flight there was a beautiful sunrise visible from the plane window.

The car to our hostel in Beijing was waiting for us at the airport. The first thing that struck me during that car trip was how messy the traffic is in Beijing, almost to the point of being scary. It's quite difficult to demonstrate how messy it was with photos, with cars driving basically ignoring lane markings, slaloming at high speeds between other cars and whatnot. It was much worse live than it looks in photos.

Our residence in Beijing was a cheap traveller hostel called Red Lanter House. Although the surroundings were rather rudimentary, the hostel itself was quite nice.

A couple of views of the street where the hostel was located. Not something which you would find surrounding a 5-star superhotel, but this is actually exactly what we went looking for, not ultramodern western clean parts of the city...

Another thing which struck me almost immediately on the streets of Beijing is the enormous amounts of bikes. There are probably millions of bikes there, probably more than cars. Bikes are not used only to travel between places but also to transport stuff like you normally would with a pickup. They even had lanes and traffic lights for bikes.

Regardless of this Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world, and you could really feel it. At the end of the day it was difficult to breath and I got a sore throat.

That's me on the left. Somehow I had always thought that Beijing is a rather warm place all year around, but when we were there the temperature was between 0 and 10 degrees celsius. Even though the photos look sunny and nice, it was rather cold.