I made it to Beijing mostly uneventfully. It took a while to get a ticket to Chengdu. Several flights including my original one were canceled but I eventually got a ticket. On the flight from San Francisco I sat with an USA Olympic team physician traveling with a small group of 10,000-meter swimmers. They are doing a reconnaissance of Beijing. They showed me pictures of the Olympic facilities and I shared my Beijing guidebook. They hadn’t had much time to prepare for sight seeing.
For those of you in the Siskiyou Saxophone Orchestra that were in the Beijing airport this past October, it has completely changed. It is much larger and more modern resembling the airports in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo or Seoul. It has three large, distinct terminals connected by train. Each has many shops and restaurants. I can’t believe how much has changed in six months. I don’t think I need to avoid flying in to Beijing anymore. The other change is security is much stricter. I assume because of the Olympics. The metal detecting wand was set off by every zipper, button and rivet on my clothing. They also took my tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner but left my toothpaste, saline and lotion. I guess we aren’t allowed to have hair products.
Tang Guangfu (Tang Di’s father), Professor Li Yusheng and Brent Weber were waiting for me at the Chengdu airport. It was 9:30 at night and after 24 hours of travel I was ready for Sichuan snacks and Snow beer along the river. Tomorrow afternoon I begin teaching.