I reached Beijing after 10:30pm and had to wait in a single foreigners queue which was exhaustively long while the Chinese citizens simply tapped their ID cards to go through security. Only once they were all gone did the officers divide the long foreigners queue into the other gates to have our passports looked at manually. We then boarded a little light rail train to baggage claim. I saw my luggage pretty quickly and two men helped me get it off the belt as they saw me struggling with the 29kg bag. As I walked through the pretty empty airport I saw my first KFC and was sure I had arrived in Beijing.
As I walked out into the public section of the airport I tried to recall a mental image of the exact sign I was to look out for as I had no Idea what my collector looked like. It was then that in the corner of my eyes I saw a little lady in big round glasses waving about a sign to me, of course she knew what I looked like. 'She' was Li Ang our Chinese liaison working under The Chinese Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), who had kindly said she would collect me herself soon after I had sent her my flight details. She greeted me by name with a handshake and a "welcome to China". Li Ang unsuspectingly quickly took my hand luggage from a hand that had lost all feeling because of it. Immediately she struggled and insisted on us both carrying a handle each while the driver lugged my suitcase.
The first thing that hit me even while still in the airport at Beijing was the tropical like heat (Li Ang suggested I take of my hoodie and bomber jacket). The climate really shocked me as I naively believed as Beijing was in the north and relatively near to Russia summer here would be more like back home. This then lead to a path of thought about how my own province in the south is known to be much hotter and I wasted a ton of space and weight in my suitcase carrying jumpers and hoodies.
I apologise that this post has more paragraphs than pictures but my first glimpse of China was all in the dark and not worth picturing even by my standards