Call me a kid, but I still get excited every time I ride an airplane. The 13-hour flight from Chicago to Beijing was the longest I had been on for years, and, to be honest, I was a little disillusioned that the experience of flying was not as magical (or comfortable) as I remembered it to be. However, I was able to get some great pictures of the sea ice in the East Siberian Sea—I’m a huge earth science fan. Overall, I would rate the flight a 6/10. Customs and immigration at Beijing Capital International Airport went smoothly, and soon we were on a bus heading to Huairou.
The welcome ceremony was already underway when we arrived at the UCAS campus, so we went directly there without changing and arrived underdressed. Oops! The food at the ceremony was wonderful; I especially enjoyed the roasted lamb chops. After dinner, Mebane took us to a small convenience store on campus, where I bought a bottle of water and a dried fish snack that was much spicier than it looked (Arjun thought I was having a heart attack).
And that was day 1, or rather, day-and-a-half thanks to the International Date Line.