One World, One Dream

It’s no secret that the Olympics this year are Beijing and China’s collective coming out party. No not out of the closet, but out of the last two hundred or so years of poverty and humiliation at the hands of imperialists and warlords (and some would add Communists). The leadership definitely is sparing nothing to make this a grand party, and it begins upon arrival at the new Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital Airport.

It’s larger than all the terminals of Heathrow combined and was built in the span of just three short years. In one of the (few? many?) examples of how an authoritarian government can push through extraordinary projects that would be stuck in the planning phase in London or New York, this dragon rose from the dust in such a short period of time as to astonish even its architects.

You can read more about the terminal itself here.

Unfortunately Continental actually landed at the older and much less impressive Terminal 2, and all I got to see of Terminal 3 at first was just its hazy silhouette through the Beijing smog. I decided that it was worth taking the shuttle over to the new terminal (it’s about a 15 minute shuttle ride away from the old terminals) since my return flight would probably also depart from Terminal 2.

The ride was worth it; the new terminal is really amazing. First it’s rare to see an airport any color than grey, concrete, or silver, but this airport is red and yellow and not ashamed of it. The soaring interior is weightless and magnificent, and its massive footprint is just as impressive viewed from the inside as from out. The entire structure must be about 10 stories tall, but there are only 4 occupied floors; the rest is filled by space and gives the terminal an endlessly vast atmosphere. I can only imagine what the rest of the terminal looks like, since I only got to see the main entrance hall.

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~ by therandomoracle on June 10, 2008.

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