Saturday, October 1, 2016

Beijing....on the way!

Every year, our goal as a family is to take two vacations. One is for me & Blu, a chance to get away on our own, and the other is one with our kids. We've had our "kids" vacation set for awhile (we are headed to Capetown in late November), but it took me awhile to pick a good spot for Blu and I to go. When we realized that Mom & Dad would be here and would be more than willing to keep the kids for a week, we started to look a little further away. (After all, this vacation was also to celebrate Blu's 35th birthday!) Emirates and Etihad Airlines have really opened up the world to us over here in Zambia, as we can take reasonably priced flights to places that are way more expensive from the States. After perusing Kenya, the Maldives, Thailand, and Egypt, we settled on Beijing - a trip to the Great Wall of China! Funny enough, neither of us have ever really had a desire to go to Asia (especially China), but when we saw the price and started looking at the Great Wall, the trip was born! Little did we know that we would have to go to Lusaka and go through quite the process to get a Chinese visa, but that part is done and we now have a 10 year visa to China! So after a VERY chaotic 3 months, we happily packed our bags and headed to the Far East!

Sunday Morning: We said bye to the kids and headed to Livingstone for the 3 hour drive to the airport!

Somehow, we got put in business class for the flight to Johannesburg! We giggled throughout the whole flight and you could tell we didn't belong there, but we had fun!

Once in Johannesburg, we looked around the airport and found an express spa for a massage and pedicure!

And of course, some Mugg n' Bean!

After an 8 hour overnight flight, we arrived in Dubai on Monday morning. Listen everyone, there is a reason Emirates Airlines was recently named the #1 Airline in the WORLD. There was tons of room, the entertainment system is incredible, planes are huge, service is amazing, etc, etc!

As we headed into Dubai, the pilot said, "Welcome to our home in the desert!" He wasn't lying...

Of course, you do have to figure out the arrivals board once you get there....

My face upon seeing the board...until it switched to English! ;)

Catching some z's....

Checking out the sites in the Dubai Airport

And the interesting bathrooms...

After a quick 2 hour layover, we headed to Beijing (7.5 hour flight) on Monday afternoon. We were shocked to look out the window at one point and see this - the Himalayas!! Gorgeous!!

We arrived in Beijing late and made our way through Immigration and security, and then arrived at baggage claim....where the mass of people began pressing in!

We managed to find the taxi stand and began to realize that the Chinese have things set up very smoothly to operate the massive amounts of people in their country! Taxis came flying by into this line and they practically shoved you into one! We were excited!

And finally, around 11:45pm, we arrived at the Marriott City Wall Hotel. (I HIGHLY recommend Expedia's flight + hotel package deals - we stay in 4 or 5 star hotels using this for VERY cheap...our round trip tickets plus 5 nights in a 5 star hotel was $1800 total.) Blu asked Leon if he could take a picture with him, because he thought it was funny that the first Chinese man he met was named Leon. :) This, in turn, made Leon excited and he went and got us 2 Chinese souvenirs from the back. #goodjobblu

They brought a cup of warm coke as a welcome, and I started chugging! We went to bed, because tomorrow...the real adventures begin!

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