I will admit, when I thought about going to China the last thing that crossed my mind was how little sleep I would get. As I went to bed on May 5th, I could barely keep my excitement at bay. What was it going to be like? What was I going to watch on the plane? How was everything going to go safely and what would I learn? I am fortunate to have travelled internationally in the past, but never to a place as “foreign” as China. I wouldn’t know the language, culture and certainly not the business environment. Me and most of my friends use smart phones every day – often all day – and most of them come from China. What will it be like to meet the people who designed and produced these millions of pocket-sized super computers that we all carry around?
As I woke up for the flight to Dulles from Pittsburgh, it became a little different. Why am I up so early? My flight is at 6am and we are leaving at 2? Why can’t I got back to bed? It was a long four hours, with a lot of waiting for the different attendants to arrive for bag check or ticket registration. The flight to Dulles from Pittsburgh was even less exciting, as I fell asleep as soon as I arrived on the plane. I had a corner seat, the last on the plane, and I could curl up into a comfortable position.
After arriving in Dulles (and being forcibly awoken from a great nap), I realized we had five hours to kill and I was way too tired to re-read the smart phone industry information or China overview documents. As everyone began to doze off or go their separate ways, I couldn’t fall asleep and thought of ways to bring the layover to an end. Most of which involve watching mindless sitcoms.
Now one of the longest flights in my life, I was unsure of how to pass the time. In the end, I slept for the beginning portion, still exhausted from my long morning and day before. I woke to lunch going around and the stewardess encouraging me to wake up for the meal. It was a chicken and rice dish, and did well to help ease my hunger. After my food and nap, I ended up not sleeping for the rest of the plane ride. Instead, I was able to watch a few movies. The first movie I watched, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a movie I had seen before and really enjoyed. It was a spin-off to the original Jumanji movie, but rather than the game coming to the players, the players enter the game. The Second movie I watched was Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I had never seen this, and was looking forward to it. In the end, it was very similar to the original Kingsman film. There was a lot of action, and I was happy to see the story had built off the previous film’s story. They had brought back characters from the previous film, and overall, I would recommend to any film viewer looking for a solid action film, nothing more and nothing less. The third film I watched is one of my favorite films, Saving Private Ryan. I have seen it twice before, and enjoy it more every time I watch it. It is about a group of American soldiers in World War II who are sent to bring a man who is behind enemy lines back to the United States. It is a story with vibrant characters, and as each hero lives and dies you can see who they are. It was oddly reminiscent of my current situation. I was headed to a new place, and was going there with a group of people. While I wasn’t going to Normandy Beach or behind enemy lines, I was in a place where I did not know where I was or what I would do. The last movie that brought me home was also a new movie I had not seen called The Proposal. It was a classic romantic comedy, one with not a lot of substance but one that provides a lighter feeling than Saving Private Ryan. It was a great way to end the flight.
After a quick bus ride to our hotel, we had a fantastic meal at a restaurant. It had a name I can’t pronounce, but it served Peking Duck, a traditional dish in Beijing. It was an outstanding meal, and my first in China. From here, my trip would begin!