The ride to work is a little more intense than the Metro bus I'd been taking from Seattle. As the subway stops are conveniently located both near where we live and my office there's not a lot of travel time on each end. That's a bonus since apparently we arrived during a warm spell and it's now starting to get back to being just really cold. The trains run every few minutes and during commute times are absolutely packed; indeed it's almost as though the frequency is tuned to run at something close to 100% capacity. Everyone seems to get onto the next train they're waiting for although for the 30 minute ride there isn't an inch on board going to waste. There's no need to hold a handrail as friction with other passengers keeps everyone upright.
I hear the buses are even busier but I think we'll need a little more courage (and improved sense of direction) before embracing that next step.
After leaving Seattle around noon on Saturday, we arrived in Beijing around 5pm on Sunday evening. I think once we were airborne we both finally started to realize the magnitude of the step we're taking here and the last few hours of the flight were a mix of excitement, trepidation and tiredness. There was hardly a wait at customs and immigration although a lot of attention is being paid to flu concerns: spraying down the aisles of the plane before landing, full body thermal scanners, infrared cameras and quarantine papers.
It was nice to get outside into cooler air outside the airport, even if it did have a certain 'flavor' to it, and after a little discussion with a driver and the hotel we got a minivan ride to our apartment. The hotel/apartment building seems nice and our rooms are easily somewhere we can call home for a while. We're at the intersection of two main roads here and even on Sunday night there's a lot of traffic. This photo is taken from our small deck and if you look carefully you can see people casually standing still in the middle of the intersection as traffic zips around them.
One of the consequences of a 16 hour time difference is that this really wasn't much of a weekend as I'm aiming to go into the office tomorrow. That journey should be an adventure in itself although right now I'm still having a little trouble believing it has all come together.