July 3rd: Woke up early, enjoyed our last breakfast buffet in China, and headed to the airport. A lengthy customs process ensued. An official waved us through the first gate. We passed through a second gate under the sign that read, “No Goods To Declare,” then arrived at a long line to have our passports checked and stamped. Several women clad head to toe in flowing black silk garments, their expressive eyes the only thing left uncovered by their dark veils, stood close in front of us, chatting nonchalantly with designer bags hanging casually over their shoulders. Every now and then I caught a glimpse of their sneakers and jeans peeping out from beneath long, black silk skirts that swept the ground. Though verging on indecency with my not-so-covert looks, I couldn’t make out the country on their passports. Many Chinese people holding maroon passports, and Koreans touting green ones, waited beside us. As we neared the checking desk, we saw a sign that read, “Please remove all glasses and caps.” We wondered whether they would require the women in front of us to remove their face coverings, but they predictably, and kindly, did not. When my turn arrived, I walked up to the desk and watched the screen display the photograph from my passport. The camera then snapped a photo of me, and the young Chinese official stamped my passport, waving me through.