what happens to beijing when it snows? part one

…chaos breaks loose!
i’ll just tell you how i got to the airport. that should be enough to get the picture.

my flight to berlin was scheduled to depart at 13:30h fron Beijing Capital Airport PEK. i calculated the time i needed to depart to get there in time with time to spare. 13:30 minus 2 hours for check-in, minus one hour for pessimism to get to the airport. that would be 10:30h. so i left the hotel at ten in the morning. 12 hours before that, it started snowing in the night and it didn’t really stop. so in the morning it was that first picture above. not really much snow. but it was enough to keep the streets clean of most cars. it’s unusually empty for that time of day. the night before, i saw only one plow, trying to clear the road of snow, but mostly, it were the few cars, that cleared some of the snow.
so outside of the hotel, i tried to get a taxi. useless. none in sight, which was also unusual. so i decided to take the airport train, which coincidently departs from the building across the bridge, also shown on the picture above. once on the train, off we went at great speed and unlike the metro in broad daylight. you could see all highways EMPTY, parking lots full of taxis full to the last spot and totally snowed in. so that’s where they were, under the snow. and suddenly, the train came to a stop in the middle of the tracks. i boarded the train at the front and was able to see and hear the conductor. he was calling someone on the radio. it was a red signal, which didn’t jump to green yet. fair enough… until he said something in chinese and closed and sealed his conductor panel. then we started rolling backwards. apperently, something was blocking the tracks and it had something to do with the snow. as we sped back, the train came to another unscheduled stop in the middle of the tracks. we waited some minutes, then the conductor opened his panel again and regained control for our direction of the train. so we started rolling again. this time, we made it to Terminal 3. but the doors wouldn’t open. the snow freezed the mechanical parts of the door and rendered them inoperable. they had to beat them open from the outside. half an hour later, i arrived at Terminal 2 and checked in and went to the gate. i then realized that i didn’t have to hurry to the airport. the ground staff itself was having trouble servicing the planes. well we departed with 4 1/2 hours delay. … but everyone managed, even with snow. :)

boarding time, 13:30 and the cargo hasn’t even been loaded yet… reminds me of berlin:

…but it was only one hour delay.

so as soon as we land in berlin and the iphone comes in contact with those frequencies, this post and the other two will automatically be published here. and i will be able to use facebook, youtube and twitter again. but i need a new computer. i gave mine to my sister.
as soon as i have it, i’ll post a timelapse video of the hilarious efforts of the ground staff in beijing to load cargo into our A330. – > …in part two


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