As some of you may be aware, Ursula and I just returned from a chilling visit to China. You got a preview of this series in my photo-rich Special Preview Blog from February 15. We departed El Paso on February 6, changing to an Air China Boeing 777-300ER after a few hours spent in Los Angeles International Airport. We then winged across the Pacific Ocean and the International Date Line, landing early in the morning on February 8. How cold was it upon arrival? Saying the something is hellishly cold is a bit of an oxymoron, so let’s just say it was colder than Atlanta during the winter of ’13-’14. The sky was cloudy, snow fell, and the temperature hovered just above 0° (-17° Celsius).
We were picked up at the airport by a representative of the tour company we were using — China Spree. Expect to read a lot more on this wonderful company throughout the series, but for now suffice it to say that this is one of the best yet most affordable tour companies you will find anywhere. We were driven to Traders Hotel, a Shangri-la property in the heart of the business district and attached to the China World Mall at the China World Trade Center.
Because of the inclement weather Ursula and I decided to explore the underground mall. What we discovered was a wonderland of very high-end stores selling luxury brand goods such as Gucci, Coach, Cartier, and many others.
Also inside the mall were myriad eating establishments ranging in price from moderate to extravagant.
There was even an indoor ice-skating rink.
But even if you weren’t into shopping or eating, the mall contains much to see and photograph.
By the time we had traversed the mall and its numerous wings the sky had cleared, temperatures had soared to the home freezer range, and we decided to step out for our first foray into Beijing. What surprised us were the modern skyscrapers and canyons of glass.
Impressively tall and magnificently designed buildings greeted us at every turn.
If you’re into photographing reflections then the Beijing business district is certainly calling out to you.
Our first day was a huge success, and our final sight of this modern city before turning in for the night were the lights still shining from the Lunar New Year celebration.