Aloha Beijing! Our first day

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We had a fairly uneventful 11 hours flying from Honolulu on Hawaiian Airines’ inaugural to Bejing — me, more than others, since my sorority sister Gerri Umby surprised me by placing me in a row all by myself so I could sleep! Upon landing, we simply headed to the Westin Beijing Chaoyang and had a mellow day eating breakfast, shopping nearby, and getting settled in.

Aloha Beijing!

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Off the plane and on the bus to the hotel! Sherrie, Mike and Jamie are a fun bunch.

Ah, but it was after the big gala that the fun began! Mr. Tsukasa “Haru” Harufuku, the president and CEO of JTB Hawaii, got a minibus and took some of us to his favorite sights in the city. I can’t show you the bootleg CD/DVD store (yet), but we did have an adventure along Wang Fu Jing, a popular shopping area. If you are in Beijing, this is a must-do.

Wang Fu Jing

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See the haze down Wang Fu Jing? That's the pollution here. It's not like vog but it's definitely in the air.

I would have finished this blog earlier, but was in a dim sum coma after that!

If you want to see more current updates, follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @Melissa808. I can only post when I’m in wifi range, so the updates will be intermittent.

These were just the highlights. For more photos, click here. Up next: The Great Wall, revisited.

Disclosure: Hawaiian Airlines provided this trip.