As much as I’ve enjoyed my experience in Beijing, I’ve been looking forward to tomorrow’s flight for quite some time. In a few days, I’ll reflect on my Olympic experience, but today’s focus has been on getting everything packed into what I hoped would be two checked bags and two oversized carry-ons. No such luck -- I started packing early this morning, and soon realized that there was no way to avoid paying the $100 fee for a third checked bag.
Luckily, I had allowed enough time for a visit to the Tianya market to pick up another bag. I withdrew 700 Yuan (about $100) from the ATM, and went back to the market I swore I’d never return to. After I scored a new suitcase for 140 Yuan, I began picking up even more souvenirs. 500 Yuan in impulse purchases filled half of my new suitcase before I left the market four hours later. I now have well over a hundred sets of decorative chopsticks, but at less than one Yuan each, they’re hard to resist -- time to make some new friends?