Chinese Diary: Arrival

Beijing in January is frigid in the morning, cold in the afternoon, and crisp by evening. The sky is soft and fuzzy, thick with food smoke and car exhaust while the air is only clear when it’s up close. Looking down the block sometimes is like peering into a tunnel whose end is filled with cotton candy.

Arriving at the airport I notice the sheer number of people. China. Magnificent. Huge. Beautiful. It’s frenetic, crowded and seemingly chaotic but upon closer observation the order and efficiency of the people is definitely apparent. It’s a furious orchestra of thousands of humans all trying to get somewhere simultaneously and having it go off relatively without a hitch. Everyone communicates through body language and the organic, unspoken code of “this is how we flow through the crowd”.

My first thought was that when the girlfriend arrives alone in 2 weeks her head may just explode with the vast contrast between PDX and any other airport, train station or bus depot in China.

Stepping out of the airport I see my father. Smiling, beautiful, old. Adventurous and relentless, his desire for exploration is where I get much of my restlessness and recklessness. This is going to be a great month.

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