Day 1 (Arrival / Beijing)
The flight went smoothly, though the inflight entertainment was pretty obsolete. No matter, I had a thick volume of writing, aka a book, to peruse during the 9 hours or so. I sat next to a Portugese couple who were friendly, if somewhat unfathomable. The husband would every now and then get his camera out and very assideously record the flight tracker. I hope he was putting some time-lapse thing together, otherwise it was just very sad.
Anyway, arriving at the Beijing airport, my luggage was markedly absent. First things first. Entering the plane, a man with a face mask pointed a gun-like thing at our foreheads. I had no idea what that was about. At debarkation, we found out; it was a swine-flu measure. What they were doing was checking our temperatures. At the airport, what we initially thought was customs was in fact a flu checkpoint. Everyone wore face masks and behind the counters, a group of white-clad people were operating something that looked like a Star Wars prop.