January 10: Beijing – Zhengzhou

It was a relatively light “day” in terms of planned activities, but something the group welcomed after the rather busy program of previous days.

On this last full day in Beijing members of our group continued to explore this city—having gained confidence in the workings of the well-developed, and reasonably-priced taxi system. Some did some shopping; some explored the tourist-oriented areas characterized by fast food establishments and high-end boutiques; several visited the Beijing zoon for a look at that unique animal that is an icon of China—the panda!

Perhaps the most exciting event of the day was the process of getting to, and boarding, our Train K179 that would take us on an overnight trip from the huge Beijing West Train Station to Zhengzhou, some 300 miles to the south. With Chinese New Year just around the corner—the busiest travel time of the year in China—the train station area was absolutely jammed with travelers who, loaded with New Year’s gifts for family and friends, pushed and shoved their way to their respective departure platforms. With very good help from our local guide, Bill, and our newly-appointed national guide, Paul, we managed to get to our train with all accounted for and our full complement of baggage in tow.

-Jim from Beijing.