It’s been a gloomy day here in Beijing—warm but overcast and drizzly. This is the jumping off point for Americans traveling to the DPRK. We have to stop here to get a visa and pick up plane tickets for the trip to Pyongyang, which I spent the better part of the morning getting done. I actually spent very little time on the visa and tickets and a lot of time getting there and back.
I read somewhere that there are more Chinese studying English than there are residents in the United States. If my experience is a teacher it’s not going particularly well. Communicating is incredibly difficult here, and getting around can be quite the challenge.
I got to the embassy okay—I had the concierge write down the address for the cab driver. Getting to the airline office was a little more difficult. It’s in the Swissotel, but I couldn’t seem to communicate that. First I couldn’t find a cab so I ended up in a motorized pedicab with a driver who assured me he knew the way. We ended up at the Silk Market. Apparently Swissotel and Silk Market sound the same when said in English.
I found another cab and had the driver get the address from my hotel clerk—thank goodness for cell phones or I might still be wandering the streets. I got my tickets and found my way back to the hotel, soggy and a little weary.
Now things are in order for my travel to Pyongyang. I’ll fly over tomorrow and will be there through Thursday of next week. This is an important series of meetings that will hopefully finalize plans for our house building work. A fundamental piece of this initiative is our agreement for volunteers from the States to join with Koreans to do some good. We hope to build peace, one house at a time, starting this fall.
I won’t be able to blog while I’m in the DPRK, but I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. This is an important trip—join me in praying for success.
Learn more about the initiative in the DPRK here.