From the air Beijing looks so orderly with sporadic blue roofs juxtaposed to terra cotta colored ones. It is actually a beautiful sight to see. My 12-hour flight was uneventful, as I believe I slept about 6 hours of it. Once on the ground the reality of where we were began to take hold. What I thought was orderly became chaos as we all filtered into the Customs line, or lack there of. Everyone just wedged in, nudged and directed traffic to create lines wherever they chose, eventually getting to 4 Foreign Visitor Custom booths. When everyone is tired this can be tenuous at best. Keeping a sense of humor goes a long way so I made a point of reading the backs of everyone’s shirts as that was all I could see! A lot came to run the marathon sporting their most recently (or not so recent) conquered race.
Once through customs it was on to gather our bags, meet up with Marathon Tours and board our bus to the hotel. Driving into Beijing, China’s sprawling capital city, your eye is immediately drawn not only to the traffic but the new high-rise buildings not quite finished but underway for the Olympics in August. Our bus brings us to the Jinglun Hotel where we will spend the next 5 days. We are greeted by a very friendly and helpful staff, already checked in so no lines here! Unpacking and setting up my kitchen before resting for dinner was the next task at hand.
Dinner was at a nearby Mongolian Restaurant where everyone mingled, traded stories and expressed their excitement for the upcoming marathon. Not feeling extremely hungry or experimental I was happy to return to the hotel, pick up my race packet and head to bed. More than 24 hours into the adventure, my eyes were beginning to close and the adrenaline was wearing off. Enough excitement for one day!!