Am I being too pampered? I hope not. But there wasn't anything else to do in transit anyway (I spent my remaining renminbi on a duty-free Tommy Hilfiger cologne) and I thought I might as well make use of my privilege access to the Star Alliance lounge. Two hours of waiting is a lot of time and I needed some place comfortable to rest my feet.
The Air China Business Class Lounge is a fairly new lounge in the Beijing Capital International Airport transit space, and is affiliated with the Star Alliance Group of airlines. It's relatively big when compared to other airport lounges, and has different areas with different types of seating to suit the traveler's needs, from the sofas to the armchairs and to the typical dining chairs.
For the hungry traveler, you have nothing to worry, there's plenty of food to go around (refreshed frequently by the hardworking staff) and to keep you filled. This central area in particular reminded me of a 7-11 convenience store, with a respectable array of drinks and snacks.
Cupcakes, sliced cakes, biscuits, cereals, nuts, cookies... You would have to be happy there's no overweight charge for passengers.
There's also cup noodles (which to my surprise was very popular with the people here; me, I didn't even want to pick it up!) and a bread tray for those who would like a bit more from the carbohydrate section.
I liked the mini fridges more because of the assortment of sandwiches (which interestingly were all Halal-certified) and chilled butter cakes. The healthy ones would be glad (or relieved) to know that there's also selections of cut fruits and yogurts available here.
My little stash for a late afternoon snack. One of er... many rounds; they're just great nibbles to have while wasting time away in transit. Besides, compared to the limited offerings at the Singapore SATS Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3, this was considered good stuff.
For those hungrier beings stuck in transit in Beijing, I'm happy to report that fuller meals can be found at the back of the lounge. I spotted dim sum as well as dishes like fried rice and spaghetti bolognese, but decided that I really wanted to snack more and stack up on the caffeine and sugars. Part of me was feeling tired but I couldn't let myself fall asleep, else I'm sure I would have overslept and missed my flight.
So I sat at the TV lounge with a couple other lone and bored travelers, cosied up on the spacious armchair, and thanked God and Steve Jobs for creating the Apple iPhone. As my fingers thumbed through the touch-screen, I thought about the holiday I've just had and realised that it was really more enjoyable than I had expected it to be. Travelling alone was an experience in itself, sure there were times when I wished there was someone beside me to share my thoughts and feelings, but at the end of it all it was really a trip where I had my own quality me-time. It gave me time to think about things that had happened the year before, things that have been swept away so conveniently because of studies and work, and things which I have now learnt to accept and move on from.
In more ways than one, I feel renewed, and genuinely happy.
Pictures taken with the Canon EOS 500D.