Day 0: Beginning the Adventure

On Saturday morning, the entire group woke up at around 2am and met in the lobby of towers. I had gotten about 3 hours of sleep, but was still feeling fine since I had taken a nap yesterday after my 5am bus ride into Pitt. I was feeling slightly nervous, and kept double checking to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. The bus soon took us to the airport, where I grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich before our flight took off. The plane ride to Washington DC was the shortest I’ve ever been on! No sooner had we reached cruising altitude then the captain had switched on the fasten seat-belt light for our descent. Our layover was actually longer than the first flight, so I was able to catch up on some sleep. Finally, we boarded the international plane, which was much larger than the first, having enough room to seat 9 people in one row. I had known that because of the language barrier, I was going to feel pretty lost once we reached China. However, as soon as I sat down in my seat I was faced with the challenge of communicating with an elderly Chinese couple who knew no English. Though we couldn’t really hold a conversation, they gave me some of their snacks, which I think were dried peaches, pineapple, and water chestnuts. In return, I was able to help them find a chinese movie to watch! It was actually a pretty cool way to jump right in to my first international travel experience. The flight seemed to take forever, but at last the plane landed in Beijing. We took a train and another bus to our hotel, located in the center of the city. Most of the group, including me, went with Dr. Li to a dumpling restaurant where we had a huge meal, all for less than 9 US dollars. I was very full and sleepy by the time we returned, and I passed out by around 9pm.

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