Sunday 15th and Monday 16th July 2018
And we’re off!
Welcome to St Philip Howard’s Summer Camp visit to China, 2018.
We boarded our Emirates flight in Manchester, where we headed to Dubai before our final destination, Beijing. The flight to Dubai was lively and entertaining as we made friends with some students who had been visiting the UK from South Africa. We had a choice of chicken curry or beef casserole, although the coleslaw starter (all on its own) definitely left much to be desired, particularly for Alex who was massively underwhelmed! In Dubai, we had a few hours to spare before our flight took off which meant that some of us decided to eat a quick last minute burger from McDonalds… (Samantha, however, savoured hers in her hand luggage for safe keeping, only to discover it again in Beijing some time later). For the rest of us, we were treated to free ice-cream courtesy of Emirates (thanks!) with flavours ranging from vanilla to date and Arabic coffee.
Our flight from Dubai was much quieter, despite several other schools travelling internationally to Beijing to experience their own Chinese adventure. We made friends with some students from Argentina, who had already travelled 23 hours to get to Beijing. Having had minimal sleep and a breakfast of prawn congee (for some!) followed by some recent blockbusters, we thundered down in a very stormy Beijing… thankfully, they didn’t go ahead with a diversion to Shanghai. After a long process of having our pictures and finger prints taken at the airport, we passed through immigration and boarded the monorail to collect our luggage.
We were greeted in the arrivals hall by Coco, our Beijing tour guide for the next 2 days. We were whisked away for our first experience of the true Chinese dinner experience, complete with central turn-table so sharing food was that little bit easier. Finally, we could demonstrate our newly acquired skills in using chopsticks… although some of us still need practice! On the menu were classics such as chicken and sweetcorn soup, beef and mushrooms, potatoes in Chinese curry sauce and salt and pepper chicken – what a treat as a first supper to ease us in gently! Following dinner, we were driven to our pagoda roofed, lantern decorated hotel with red and gold décor. Having checked in, we made our way to the bedrooms where we took a very welcomed shower before calling it a day… and what an extremely long day it was!