I spend a good time each year visiting new nieces and nephews that live too far away (home in New Zealand). The positive bit to the distance is the enforced stop-overs and the side trips that gives us!
Forgot to say, Dan - William was excellent as a guide (and as personal transport!). Anyone looking for a way to get around Beijing, while learning, laughing and eating should have no hesitation to gobbling up his services. They should also believe him when he says the acrobatics is amazing.