We landed in Beijing with about 30 minutes to spare. Our flight took a longer path from New York so what should have been a 13 hour flight was actually a 14 hour flight.
We raced off the plane to go to the international transfers section of customs. There were about 30 other people on my flight who were making the same transfer. When we got to the customs counter we were told it was too late and our flight had taken off.
Off to the international transfers counter it was! They gave us vouchers to a nearby hotel and food to eat and, although I was annoyed, it ended up being just fine. I felt bad for some of the other travelers who had additional connections from Bangkok to islands in Thailand. Thankfully, our trip is not that structured and getting stuck in Beijing was actually fine by me.
In the Beijing International Airport there was a glass container displaying “prohibited items.” I felt obligated to mention that of the slew of items inside, knives, weapons, etc, there was one that stuck out to me. ATTENTION JEWS EVERYWHERE: you cannot bring a shofar into China. I repeat, if you were planning to spend Rosh Hashanah in China, please adjust your plans accordingly. That is all.
I made some friends who were with me on the plane from New York and also stuck in Beijing. We decided to explore the nightlife and eat some authentic Chinese food. We figured we might as well make the most of our time in China.
We asked a local woman, around our age, if she knew of any good places to eat. She recommended a strip which had a ton of options. We cabbed down there and chose the most crowded restaurant on the block. After some great food and cheap beers we headed back to the hotel for a night of sleep.
In the morning, I woke up, went down for breakfast, and headed to the airport around 9:00am. Our flight is not until 2:00pm but I preferred to sit in an airport lounge with chargers and WiFi than in our hotel (which had neither). I am in the lounge now and just really anxious to get to Bangkok. I am still planning to attend the Seder (Noam and I are going to meet there) and then head back to our hostel to find Avi.
More updates tomorrow. For now, wish me luck.