At last we arrived at Beijing International airport and it was the easiest immigration procedure that we have experienced since we started the trip. We were all through in around 20 minutes and soon got in a cab. Beijing is absolutely massive and our trip from the airport took around half an hour. It was now around midnight and the poor kids were shattered, I was panicking that the hostel we had booked would be closed, filthy etc and was so pleased when we arrived to find a little oasis in a somewhat dodgy looking area.

We didn’t wake up until 10am today, although we are now another hour ahead (7 hour time difference). By the time I have had a coffee and about a gallon of water I feel ok, Ali seems to be completely improved and Maisie is now the one suffering. Poor Maisie she is absolutely burning up and complaining of headaches and “feeling tender” (her words bless her!)

We spend the day quietly, go across the road for some lunch, get the laundry sorted and try and make some plans for the next few days. In the afternoon Simon and Ali go and check out the string of guitar shops around here and Maisie and I watch some DVD’s on the laptop to try and help plan our China route. We watch Destination China and Arthur’s Travels in China. I join Simon and Ali for a beer downstairs (Corona- yeh!) and unfortunately when I slam our room door closed the ceiling tiles in our room fall down on Maisie. Poor Maisie she isn’t hurt but not very impressed!

In the evening we walk 5 minutes up the road to a recommended restaurant. Its slightly intimidating walking in, the place is absolutely huge, we are the only westerners and it’s packed with families. No one seems to speak much English but eventually we order the house speciality Crispy Peking Duck. (How cool is that, eating the real deal in Peking!) The amount of food on people’s tables is amazing and it all looks beautiful. Very ornate, huge fish with teeth piled high with tiger prawns, plates of steamed vegetables, (we have celery and water lily), and lots of Chinese tea and “Snow” beer. (We have a few of them)

We sit there reading the Lonely Planet for a crash course in dinner etiquette. Most things we already know but we learn that we must point the spout of our teapot away from the table and not turn a fish over to get at the flesh underneath. (This may cause the next boat we see to capsize)

We wander back to the hotel and I decide to start taking a course of antibiotics as my throat is so painful. Previous experience tells me it probably won’t clear up otherwise and I don’t want to feel unwell for our time here. We call the kids grandparents Bob and Jude on skype and all have a good chat, then off to bed. Hope we are all feeling better tomorrow, can’t wait to get out there and explore Beijing.

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