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Scrubs in Beijing Fourth year medical student from Houston, traveling to Beijing to study Chinese medicine and Chinese beer

Leaving Texas

CHINA | Sunday, 30 March 2008 | Views [647]

I woke up at 3 am. My husband was already up, as usual. I'd been up packing till midnight, so my head was foggy and my hair still damp from showering before bed. I staggered out of bed, threw on the clothes I'd set out, kissed the dog and cat bye, and we got in the car. I was tired, but wide awake, partly from anticipation and partly from nerves. I'm a somewhat (okay, very) nervous traveler.

Justin drove me in to a friend's apartment in Houston. We live to the south, and the airport is pretty far to the north, so he dropped me off at Ben and Barbara's apartment. We'd mostly said goodbye the night before, and he was exhausted, so we briefly hugged and kissed and then he was gone. We climbed in Ben's car (which smelled like barbecue, from his soon-to-be-former job) and headed out.

At the airport, we stopped at Waffle House for breakfast. It was pretty greasy for 4 am, but welcome nonetheless. We took a few pictures--the first few of the trip. Then we drove the rest of the way to the airport, unloaded, found the correct line, and checked in. Our first flight was only to San Francisco, then the long haul to Beijing.

After passing through security (no full searches! yay!) we found our gate and several of our friends who were going with us. For the next hour or so, we talked about what we were going to do, flipped through our guide books or phrase books, watched CNN for the last time, and sipped our last Starbucks (except me, since I don't really drink coffee). It was finally time to board, and then we were off to SFO.

Flew to SFO (uneventful), landed, found the bus to the international terminal, found a burrito place to eat lunch (at 11 am Texas, 9 am local), found our gate, and eventually boarded our 747 to Peking Airport.

The 747 was far more cramped than I thought it would be. The seats were tiny, and even I at 5'1" couldn't stretch my legs at all. The TV's were big projectors on the front of each section. The two meals were fairly nasty, leaving me glad I'd eaten my burrito, but the "light snack" of a type of Chinese ramen noodles were quite delicious. I gulped down glass after glass of water and attempted to sleep, but watching "August Rush" for the second time (it was also on the first flight) plus the noise in the cabin and the movement of my seatmates kept me awake. I slept only 30-60 minutes on the 13 hour flight. I don't think I've ever been so glad to stand up in my entire life.

Tags: houston



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