Beijing Landing

I flew into Beijing yesterday over the northern mountains and across the swathes of high-rise blotting the plains without seeing the Great Wall. That legend about the barrier being visible from Space is a myth or perhaps I didn’t know where to look for it.

Our 747 disgorged its passengers into the new airport built for the Olympics.

I went to the bathroom en route to customs and when I emerged no one was in sight. No cops, no tourists, no airline reps. No one in the long gateway. At first I thought the airport had been shut down after our flight, however as I neared immigration for international transfers several cleaning attendants appeared on the other side of the glass, earnestly wiping the 40-foot high windows of any fingermarks as if they were at the scene of a crime. I was the only foreigner passing through immigration. The customs official was wearing a mask to avoid any contamination from swine flu. A doctor checked my temperature and I was waved through to my next flight. Only one duty-free was open and a single restaurant. I bought a beer for 15 yuan and then sat at the gate for an hour. The only passengers in that terminal were for the Bangkok-bound flight.

Fifteen gates and not a single other jets.

We were driven to a waiting 737 for Air China Flight 979.

In the distant the northern mountains glowed with the sun filtering through the desert dust.

It must have looked this way for centuries before the airport was built and somehow I got the feeling that it would look that way again within the near-future.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *