Beijing Summary


We arranged the trip to Beijing through Sky Travel, a local Hong Kong agency.   Visas for China were expensive, $200 each.  We flew to Beijing on China Air.  On arrival, we took a bus from the airport to save money and got a bit lost, so ended up walking miles to our hotel.  There was a tasty pizza restaurant on the way where we stopped for fortification.  Our hotel, the Courtyard Marriott Beijing, arranged a tour for us the next day, which took us to Tiananmen Square, the Imperial City, the Panda Garden and the Great Wall.  For Lauren and Kate the day was unforgettable since we were stopped for photos numerous times by Chinese unaccustomed to seeing foreign children.  We ate dinner at the most elegant Chinese restaurant we have seen, located in an old villa.  The weather turned and temperatures dropped into the 30s while we were there - this was really cold for us!   On top of that, we all got sick from something we ate and one by one were all forced to bed.  Those who were well enough explored the markets and a Hutong (traditional neighborhood).  Not many Hutongs were left in Beijing as the Chinese were madly preparing for the 2008 Olympic Games and new construction projects meant  tearing down many of these old structures.  After five days, we returned to Hong Kong.

 Kona Moment:  Beijing feels like another planet.

Starbucks:   Thanks to a Beijing Starbucks we met fellow round-the-world travelers Roland, Barbara and Austin Fox.  They have a website as well at

Weird McDonalds Menu Item:  Banana pies

Cultural Moment:  Chairman Mao’s rosy portrait staring down at the vast expanse of Tiananmen Square was sobering for us, as we remembered the sad events of the 1989.  Also, CCTV, the English language Chinese propaganda TV station, stating in every other news story that Taiwan is a province of China.