My first impression of Beijing was the one I really wanted to see.
There they were...behind a large group of fairly somber Chinese people waiting to pick up friends and relatives at the air port...Alison and James jumping up and down and waving! The real reason reason for the trip to Beijing!
Other first impressions: *When you can see the pollution in the air, it's a bit polluted. *Don't ever complain about American traffic. Beijing traffic, including cars, buses, motor bikes, bicycles, and lots and lots of people, is complete madness. And they believe in car horns. *There are a lot of people in Beijing.
*It's amazing how much you can communicate without knowing a language by using gestures and context clues. And pointing at pictures.
* You really only need to do rush hour in a Beijing subway once in your life. It an incredible mass of humanity. You're packed in like sweaty little sardines in a tin.
As Alison says, "You have absolutely no personal space."
First day in Bejing, we toured the silk market, visited Lake Houhai, and shopped in a houtong. But the hugs and the stories and the love were the best part.