Saturday, October 18, 2008

Winding Down in Tokyo

Seoul came and went pretty quickly this time, which is a shame since I really like the city. Managed to get to Dunkin' Donuts the morning we left. We had a gathering in the hotel lounge one of the nights in Seoul to help Aaron celebrate his birthday (he travels a lot for his school, and spends his birthday every year now on the Linden fall tour in Asia).

Beijing was very interesting and, according to those in the know, we continued to reap the benefits of the 2008 Olympic games in the improved air quality. There has to be some upside to see those little gymnast girls being replayed on every screen in town.

Took a taxi to Tian 'anmen on our last day in Beijing with my tour buddy, Jeff. Or, at least, we thought we were going there. Taxi driver dropped us off in front of the Palace Museum, where you have to pay the equivalent of about $6 to go into the Forbidden City. No, it's not a lot of money, but just on general principal we decided we would walk to the Square. After much comical consulting of Chinese maps and a seemingly endless trek down a rather dodgy side street, we reached out destination. Peteena insisted on posing with the Mao portrait (knew I shouldn't have brought her!).

Pictures below, first of Seoul and then Beijing.

The plane from Beijing to Seoul featured video from a camera mounted under the plane. The white curved line at the left of the monitor is runway lights. Seeing the plane land in real time and images is not as reassuring as it might seem.

Even the school toilets in the girls washrooms in Seoul come complete with bidet.

Homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey, shot in the walkway between wings of the Lotte Hotel Seoul.

No, it's not the Swine store, it's the S. Wine store in Seoul.

My favorite buildings in Beijing.

Jeff and I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment after finally reaching Tian 'anmen Square.

Erick relaxes with a beer while Aaron listens to us entreating him to cut the cake...

...which we made short work of.

Me with my amazing interpreter, Tony, at the IIE fair in Beijing.

Arrived in Tokyo last night. The schedule is starting to lighten up - we have an IIE fair today (a much more polite affair here than those in China!) and a school fair tomorrow. Scheduled to leave Tokyo on Tuesday around 5pm. Should arrive in San Francisco around 1pm on Tuesday, some four hours before I even left Tokyo. Amazing! Will try to get up one more post before we leave, we get free broadband internet here at the Palace Hotel.

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