It was nearly one o’clock in the afternoon on a Saturday when I finally catch a glimpse of my mother and father hurrying towards us from the entrance of the Departure Floor of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
I glance briefly at the watch on my wrist. The Cathay Pacific flight we were due to board will open its doors for passengers in another fifteen minutes. My mother and father had just returned from our house, an hour’s drive from KLIA, to grab some things my mother had accidentally left behind. Everything else has been settled- the baggage checked in and our flight tickets obtained. Our tour leader, an associate member of the travel agency we had signed up with, told us he would wait inside while the rest of our 23-member-entourage had already made their way inside. The only thing remaining was to get to the gates the soonest possible in order not to miss the flight.
With my parents now in sight, I quickly turned my attention to finding my two younger siblings, running around somewhere to curb their boredom of waiting. I prayed they were somewhere within the vicinity. My aunt, Mother’s younger sister, was striding towards me, who was minding the few hand luggage. I called at my ten-year-old brother and my 12-year-old sister, whom I caught playing not very far from a sweet shop just around the corner. The moment all my family members were present, we made our way towards the Entrance for International Departures.
The trip to Beijing has long been anticipated by the members of my family, particularly Mother and my two siblings. Mother was looking forward to this vacation to de-stress herself from work, while my brother and sister, having never been outside the country before (save for Bangkok, which doesn’t quite count), were eager to broaden their horizons to a new world. My father’s busy schedule prevented us from going too far from home, and it took the efforts of all of us combined to be able to wrangle a time off from him.
For me, Beijing falls under the category of a must-see-at-least-once kind of place.
The Great Wall is, of course, legendary. But above all, Beijing is a historical city, much like Melaka is to Malaysia. The Forbidden City, which used to be the primary home to the Emperors of China for at least two separate dynasties. And the Tiananmen Square, which is the site of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest (as well as three other protests). That does not count the numerous other monuments dating to various different dynasties and eras. In short, Beijing, unlike its more modern counterpart, Shanghai, is somewhat perfect for history buffs like yours truly.
So basically, we’re all excited to visit this Ancient Capital of China (also known as Peking). In addition, we took the trip at the beginning of wintertime. Winter will be a nice change from all the constant sun-and-rain in Malaysia.
We have finally boarded the plane after a quick stop for Zuhur prayer. As I sat back and stared out the small window of the aeroplane, I had to smile just a little bit.
This ought to be fun!