After our wonderful quick dinner with family, we were all to sonn back at the airport. As we walked up to our gate we immediately saw some Ernst & Young friends also sitting at the gate. We quickly were introduced to some others and as a group we had 4 couples on our flight to Beijing all going to the new partner conference.
We enjoyed chatting and getting to know these new friends. One of our big topics of conversation was our strategy for beating jet lag. As we were boarding our flight it was 10:30 p.m. Texas time and we had been up since 6:30 in the morning. (and in bed only at 2 am the night before). The flight attendant recommended that if we were to sleep on the flight that we try and do it early and not sleep for very long. Since after the 12 hour flight we would be landing at almost midnight and need to sleep (so if we slept the whole flight then we would arrive not tired).
I had high hopes of staying awake. But I couldn't do it. Before they even served our meal I was out. The flight attendant said she tried to wake me and I am shocked that I was in such a deep sleep that I didn't notice.
Now it could have been that business class was just so comfortable. I had on noise cancelling head phones; I was totally reclined with my feet up; I had 2 pillows and a soft blanket around me; and there were no kids in my chair kicking me!!!!
I did eventually wake up for a quick meal and then caught another nap. And then with about 4 hours left I was good and awake and surfing the many movie choices we had.
We landed in Beijing. The airport was enormous. We went through customs and as we came down to baggage claim were greeted by a nice Ernst & Young sign. We had a tour guide named Jason helping all of us. We boarded a bus and started the 30 minute drive to our hotel, the China World Hotel. Our tour guide was very chatty and we learned a lot about the culture. He talked a lot about the 1 child policy. His parents had both been married earlier and then divorced and so when they came together in 1982 his father already had 2 children while his mother had none. She became pregnant in 1984 and the country determined that her pregancy was illegal. She left for the country where she had family members who were able to help her deliver him. In 1984, the laws changed to account for marriages and divorces and then she cam back to Beijing to raise him. He also noted that the one child policy only applies to one of the 56 races in China. Only the Hun nationality is restricted to one child. The Huns make up 90% of the population. The other 55 nationalities are not restricted to one child and they are all minority populations.
Another interesting discussion he had with us is the unintended consequence of the one child policy -- the change in the ratio of births male to female. He noted that in China right now there were 13 million more men than women and the number is growing. He did say that the mindset had started to change as it is now quite a financial burden to have a boy -- he must work hard, save, buy a car, and buy a home in order to have any hope of finding a wife. The families all have to sacrifice to make the boy "impressive" enough-- whereas families with girls are able to pick and choose and through only their choice are able to bring wealth to their family. Because of this and because of the changing (less farming more industrial) lifestyle, girls are gaining in favor so that every family does not neccesarily HAVE to have a boy.
We arrived at our hotel and that began the convergence of EY employees. Right before our bus of 4 couples arrived from Seattle an enormous bus filled with 20 or so couples had arrived from Chicago and the right behind us came another 20 couples on a flight from Detroit. The line to check into the hotel was incredibly long. It took us more than an hour. I was glad then that I had slept on the flight or waiting in that line would have been pretty miserable. We finally made it up to our room. It was 2 am Beijing time. It was like our second night with no day. We had probably gotten an interrupted 6-7 hours of sleep on the plane and so fortunately we were pretty tired. We hit the sack.
After the trip I will add photos from my "big" camera but here are some from my iphone.