Arrival in Beijing
While volume has yet to hit its peak, the Chinese government seems prepared to process Olympic visitors quickly and painlessly through customs and immigration. There are dedicated lanes for those credentialed for the Olympics. Capital Airport’s new international terminal is enormous, but very efficient from my experience this afternoon. Signs are marked clearly in English and guides are available should you be unfamiliar with immigration procedures. It’s clear that the government wants to make a good impression with visitors; there’s even a device to rate your service with the customs officer -- selections are made using four smiley face buttons.
The baggage area is also very efficient, with arriving flights clearly marked on corresponding belts. I traveled with a group of almost sixty and as far as I know, all of our luggage arrived quickly and in good condition. I split my belongings between two suitcases and a carry-on just in case one bag managed to slip through the cracks during my connection at O’Hare -- but everything worked out just fine. Be careful what you pack -- all of your belongings must go through an X-Ray machine before you're permitted to leave immigration. It’s almost 11:30 PM here and I didn’t sleep much on the plane… more to come tomorrow.