“I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist, I am a possibilist”
I arrived at Beijing International around 1am, after about 30 hours of traveling. I was the last one to exit the plane. As I walked into the terminal there was silence as I stood among a few others who eagerly stared at the luggage carousel, hoping to see our bags come down the chute. The attendant at the airline kiosk told me that they had lost my baggage and it would not be arrive until tomorrow. I groggily hopped into a taxi driven by a man who spoke absolutely no English and continued onto the hostel. At 2am there was no one in the street and despite being at the correct address, the hostel was not here. I began to panic as I realized that I was all alone in the middle of Beijing with no idea how to speak Chinese or ask for help. I found the number for the hostel on my laptop and luckily they helped me find my way.
After a long rest in a musky smelling dorm room I spent the morning walking around the Chaoyang/ Dongcheng district of Beijing. Many of the curious locals keep their eyes locked on me as I walk by them. I suppose they probably don’t get many Americans in this neighborhood.
Day one has been interesting to say the least. I decided to get a little bit lost and wander through some streets that looked promising. Choayang has some wonderful streets that rival New York City in terms of scale and consideration of bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Beijing is teeming with bicycles, mopeds and motorbikes. The vehicles in Beijing drive like they are all drunk. No one pays attention to any of the road rules that I am accustomed to and everyone honks, constantly.
After about half an hour of walking I stumbled onto Steven Holl’s “linked hybrid” a pleasant surprise. Tried to access it, but unfortunately it was closed to visitors.