In the fall of 1955, a group of eight Romanian students, me included, departed Bucharest for Beijing.

Flying Chinese cariage, 1957

Flying Chinese carriage

It took us three full days to reach Beijing because the flights were infrequent, and plane speed was low. We stopped in Kiev, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Ulan Bator and landed in Beijing.

I was impressed by real Eskimos in heavy furs seen in Novosibirsk airport, by huge, pristine Lake Baikal and dry Mongolian hills, observed for hours from my airplane’s window. It was my first plane flight and I got sick.