After nearly a week on the road in Australia we arrived in Beijing via a couple of short(ish) flights. With the exception of an aborted landing at Beijing, where we came down to 300m above the runway before heading straight up to 2000m again, which is always a bit unnerving, these were uneventful and, having done the comparison, time passes more quickly in business class.
As planned, we are in temporary accommodation until our apartment has been cleaned up a little – it’s in need of fresh paint and some repairs.
So how are we settling into Beijing? Well, some of you will recognise Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs reflected loosely in the headings below.
Apparently we had arrived in China during an early burst of spring heat and walking into the apartment was like walking into an oven. After moving from room to room confirming that the heating wasn’t stuck on full and trying the air conditioning controls, Katherine reminded me that heating and cooling were centrally controlled in that they only came on after a certain date. A bit like old school Canberrans who refuse to turn on the heating until after ANZAC day. Unfortunately, the smog levels outside were at “hazardous” levels, so opening the windows was not an attractive option.
Eventually, after a week of living in shorts in a swelteringly hot apartment, we were treated to a cool fresh change. And with the smog down to “unhealthy for sensitive groups” level we opened up all the windows, flushed out the apartment and filled our lungs.
Arriving after midnight we were provided with some basic provisions including a bottle of water which proceeded to evaporate on contact with the children. So, despite being told not to drink the tap water, and with no kettle provided, we launched into it. Needless to say it was not quite the same as back home. I’d rate the experience as half a star out of five.
Anyhow, while we haven’t yet established regular deliveries of bottled water, we have stocked up – and with milk off the kids’ menu, or allowed in limited quantities only, the kids have a new appreciation of its importance.
Providing the family with adequate access to the Internet will clearly help me and Henri build our technical IT skills.
We’ve been shown a very warm welcome by the local expat community. A bar night as K’s work, drinks and nibbles on Friday at a new friend’s apartment and we are going out with a colleague of K’s on Sunday which is great for the kids who are missing their friends already.