In the early morning darkness of December 11th our Boeing 777 lumbered into Beijing’s “Capital International Airport”. The sun was hours from rising and the temperature was below zero. While the city of Beijing was lit and sprawling for all the eye could see, the massive airport sat eerily quiet, almost abandoned. No flights were scheduled to depart until later in the morning, hours after our arrival. The only aircraft alive were those arriving into the Middle Kingdom’s capital city from all far reaches of the world.
Our aircraft had spent the better part of fourteen hours in the sky, flying from Texas in the United States northward over Canada and Alaska, over the top of the globe and then down, south-bound across Russia and northern Manchuria. Now, here we were, finally in the continent; In the country. It would be another eight hours before our next flight to Shenyang was due to depart. In the meantime, beef-noodle soup and dumplings were a good start to the day.