We woke up early this morning to be sure we could pack and catch the shuttle bus to the airport. We had set the alarm for 4:30 am, but we both woke up earlier than that.
With the help of our travel agent’s representative, the ride to the airport went off without a hitch. We got a little confused figuring out where to go after checking in, but managed to make it though Security and Immigration without difficulty and without having to remove our shoes. Our flight was on time and while most of the announcements were in Japanese, there were enough in English that we managed. The flight wasn't full so even though we started out with three people in our row, the flight attendant moved the third person to another row so we could all be more comfortable.
The snacks were traditional Japanese type snacks. I have no idea what it's called but it was good. For the meal, I had a pork curry which was tasty. Scott was laughing at me because I wouldn't try anything until he tried it first and told me what it tasted like.
Trip was shorter than posted because we must have had a tailwind. We arrived more than 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The terminal we landed at was beautiful. Apparently, it is newly constructed. It's huge and has lots of glass so it's very bright. We made it through Immigration and Customs with no problems. One thing that was different is that they re-X-Ray'd our carry-ons before we were allowed to go pick up our bags. Our guide was waiting for us after we had claimed our bags.
It was a fairly short ride to the hotel. Of note is that there are Olympic banners and other swag everywhere on the way into town. We even saw a whole building wrapped in a gigantic banner. The freeway had flower boxes on both sides nearly all the way into town and there is a special lane on the freeway for cars with Olympic credentials so they can bypass traffic. Riding in a car around here is a bit scary. No directionals are used and people switch lanes in less than a car length. Rather nerve wracking. I'd be too afraid to drive.
Despite all the reports about the bad air in Beijing, it appears at least as clear as Tokyo was. The sky is a pale blue with some streaky clouds. We haven't been out breathing the air much yet, but can see pretty far into the rest of the city. I'm not sure what all the fuss was about.
Our hotel room isn't quite as nice as the one in Tokyo, but it is much roomier and has a huge bathroom. I think it will do just fine for our stay. We have finished unpacking and now it's time to go explore!