After a relatively uneventful plane ride on United Airlines from Atlanta to Beijing via Chicago, I checked into my hotel tired but in good spirits.

It’s been 22 years since my last visit to Beijing and I was a teenager traveling with my family then. The immediate impression upon arrival at the Beijing airport was how the airport resembled any other international airport complete with modern amenities travelers have come to expect. My plane flew into Terminal 2 which, according to the official Beijing Capital International Airport web site, is able to handle 26,500,000 passengers yearly and 9,210 passengers at peak hours.

Two things struck me as I made my way through immigration and customs: 1.) The pervasive presence of western-style advertising and 2.) The location of a mega Starbucks shop right in the arrival hall.

Click here to view photos from Day One.

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