Day 1 (18th June 2006)
The day began at a friend’s place in USJ. I had spent the night at my travel companion’s place. I wanted to hitch the ride to KLIA. By 6.15am, we left USJ. We had to be in KLIA before 7am to meet the tour manager.
6.50am - Met Mr Dzul (tour manager) at counter C15. We also meet another companion, nicknamed for during this trip as Ma Hen. My first companion was later nicknamed Gang (a name which we hardly used anyway). We checked in our luggage then headed to KFC for breakfast.
8.45am - Went through the departure gate. By 9.00am, we were already boarding the plane, flight MH 378. After a series of seat swapping, the three of us (Ma Hen, Gang, and I) managed to sit together. However, the plane only took off around 9.30am. Beijing here we come!
10.45am - Breakfast up in the blue sky.
2.30pm – Snack was served. No lunch!
3.30pm - Touch down. Beijing here we are!
4.45pm - After a series of queuing (for the exit, imigration, quarentine form & custom) we made it out to the airport lobby. There are 19 people in our tour group.
5.10pm - On the bus. The local tour guide is Mr Liew. Like Harmonica in Phuket, Liew adopted another name for easy memorization, Fariz. The bus driver is Mr Jiang, A Chinese word for river. A few metres from the parking lot, our bus was caught in a massive jam. To be more precise, it was a standstill. People actually turned off their engine and got out of their vehicle. Some smoke and some chat with the next driver.
5.30pm – The bus finally moved. There was a road closure. Some foreign ministers were visiting China. As in KL, roads were closed to allow smooth flow of the foreign delegation.
6.00pm – The bus stopped and park by a roadside. We walked along the sidewalk to get to a restaurant for our dinner. We passed some buildings which looks like a housing complex, similar to flats in Malaysia. The restaurant’s door faces the infamous Tiananmen Square. Everyone devoured the food. I’m not sure if the food was good or we were all very hungry.
7.00pm – We left the restaurant for acrobat show.
7.30pm – We reach the ‘theatre’. Having seen Fantasea in Phuket where everything was superbly choreograph into a story, the acrobatic acts were somewhat disconnected. Nevertheless, the show was cool. There were no safety nets and most of the acrobats did not use safety harness. The body ‘bending’ and ‘folding’ by the acrobats made the Thai massage I endured seems a child play.
8.30pm – The bus headed to the hotel, Zhong Yan Hotel. While distributing the hotel keys, Dzul could not remember my first companion’s name. He called out Ma Hen’s name, my name, and the gang.
9.30pm – Already in the room. We unpacked our things. We did a stock check on our food before going to bed.
p.s.: The names of travelling companions have been changed to protect their identity.