The Regent Hotel, Beijing
This evening we enjoy a special Welcome Dinner in the Regent Hotel Ballroom. The room is wonderfully decorated with bright red table and chair settings, and Richard and Dawn have an opening surprise up their sleeve. Some drums and cymbals enter the room followed by traditional lion dancers, and we're entertained by no less than 4 lions plus a young boy who tumbled acrobatically! It's loud and colourful. Dinner follows, a four course served meal and choice of wines, all of which is very well received by guests. The service is great. During the evening there are times when it appeared there were more waiters and waitresses than guests (and there's 104 of us!).
So did we sleep on the flight last night? Reports are that some slept and some didn't, which is about average! Richard didn't sleep at all, apart from falling into a deep sleep on the final approach to Beijing Airport, and awaking when the tyres hit the runway - a total of 5 minutes snooze! Beijing Airport is modern and roomy, and in no time at all we were through immigration - all those visits to the Chinese Embassy in London seemed to have paid off, because all the Visas worked ok! Luggage was spinning aroung the carousel by the time we arrrive so we exited quite promptly, and met our three local guides, Bob, Francis and Jenna. Driving into the centre of Beijing, guests were most impressed with how modern and clean everywhere is. Our hotel, The Regent Beijing, is perfectly situated in the centre of the city, with shops and markets and numerous attractions within walking distance or nearby by taxi or tube. We're also clearly in the posh shopping area ... along the road are car dealerships for Ferrari, Lambourgini and Aston Martin. Directly from the lobby of our hotel you can walk straight into a Bentley showroom one side, and a Rolls Royce showrooom the other. We'll let you know if anyone purchases a souvenir!