So after over a year of planning and waiting I am about to leave the country for 3 weeks to cover the worlds biggest sporting event. One would think I’d be incredibly excited but to tell you the truth I feel like puking!

     Anyone who has traveled overseas knows the hassle and stress of packing. Now add the fact that I have to prepare to cover the biggest event of my life and it takes on a whole new level of difficulty.

     One of the first things I did was head to the local drug store and buy a wide assortment of medicine, pills and toiletries.

     I was able to pack 3 bodies, a 600mm, 80-200mm, 24-70mm, 14-24mm, 10.5mm, and 2 flashes into my thinktank bag (with a screwed up handle that only opens halfway after only 2 months of owning it) I also have a 400mm that I am carrying in my backpack so that part of the packing was probably the easiest since I take that much gear to every shoot.


     Next on the to do list was to find a ride to the airport. Thankfully my friend Danielle was able to take me because everyone else was working and no way in hell was I gonna park my car at the airport for 21 days! Wish I would have taken a picture of the luggage inside her car because it was like a game of tetris to fit all my stuff into her tiny Mercedes.

     Checked my bags and got to play a fun game of “bag too heavy” The weight limit was 50lbs before you would be charged overweight baggage fees and with an international flight you don’t wanna have to pay that as it turns into several hundred dollars rather quickly. The one bag was overweight by 6lbs so I opened up my bags right there at the counter and did a precision job of taking stuff out and weighing it to transfer exactly 6lbs to the other bag without making the other bag overweight. Final weigh in was bag #1 50.0lbs and bag #2 49.5lbs. Hows that for getting the most for my money! Now I will also have the luxury of being able to bring up to a half pound of souvenirs home! 

     After all that I headed upstairs to the Chilis Too to kill 30 minutes before heading to the gate……no alcohol though because I still have a minor hangover from drinks the night before with the GF.

     As I was heading to my flight I got a call from Jerry Lai who is shooting with me. He was supposed to be meeting me in San Francisco and flying the same flight with me to Beijing. Unfortunately (for me) his flight out of Chicago was delayed enough that he would be unable to make the connecting flight with me to Beijing. Fortunately (for him) they were able to get him on a direct flight out of Chicago and he will now be beating me by 3 hours to China!

    More fun ensued as after easily clearing the security checkpoint I go to put my backpack on and the damn shoulder strap on one side breaks in half. Now I get to spend the rest of this trip to China carrying the bag on just one shoulder like how the “cool” kids used to in jr high school!

      After sitting around at the gate duringa 45 minute delay, we finally borded and within minutes were airborne on our way to San Francisco.

       I spent the whole flight reading my guide to Beijing that I bought a few days prior. It is full of useful information for the trip.

      On final approach to SFO we flew over some interestingly colored water. I should probably get used to odd water since in Beijing they constantly warn you not to drink the water and to use bottled water to rinse your teeth when brushing, yummy!

      Got to San Francisco with little time to spare so no stop at a high charging airport bar for me!

      Onboard my Air China flight now. Popping a sleeping pill very shortly for the 12 hour flight that gets me into Beijing at 6pm (3am AZ time) so the next time you hear from me I will finally be in China and ready to kick some ass!

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Posted in Chilis, China, Me, Olympics, Sports   | 8 Comments

8 responses to “About to head to Beijing!”

  1. Byron Hetzler says:

    One billion Chinese have no idea what’s in store for them! So, do they have Chili’s in China? It seems like they have just about everything else.

  2. Brent Rust says:

    Nice job on the bag balance…..see if Beijing has some of the shops where they sell sunglasses…..and get some new ones….Are you sure you didn’t take those from Holly? (Just kidding Mark), have a great time. Can’t wait to see your usual kick ass images!

  3. Anonymous says:

    i like the HUGE bottle of gel in the first pic!

  4. Leonard Hursh says:

    Reminds me of our flight to Beijing last August. We got to take the non-stop from Chicago as well. Enjoy your stay! Looking forward to your writing about your experiences.

  5. jw says:

    Can you explain how you setup that remote camera near your crotch while on the airplane to take the photo of you reading your beijing book? I don’t even see the pocket wizards, pretty amazing… maybe Pshizzy will do a video on “remote airline crotch cams on trips to beijing to shoot on spec”…

    be safe…


  6. Mark!

    Have fun at the Olympics! I am full of envy. To let you know about the “interesting color of water” you flew over in the San Francisco Bay Area I can educate you since I live here. Those are salt mines owned by CarGill salt mining company. One of the largest salt manufactures in the States! I was able to take a tour of their facilities when doing a story and was very cool. Good Luck and cant wait until I see some more stuff of your over there in China!


  7. Geoff Bolte says:

    Mark, have a great time while in Bejing. Can’t wait to see some jaw dropping images. Too bad it looks as though there aren’t any MJR famous Chili’s over there. Anyways I’m sure you won’t have time for food, although bet if there was a Chilis there you would. Have a blast, one day I hope I’ll be covering an olympics.

  8. Linden says:


    I am envying you for going to my home town to cover this exciting sport event. I really hope you will enjoy your stay there and I am sure you will get plenty nice images…

    Take care.


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