Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beijing (but not for long)

So when I can, I'll post pictures, but when I get home, I'll post them to the entries after the fact, so check back if you're curious.

I rolled into the city last night around 5, and one of Professor Wang's student met me at the airport. Olympics preparations are well underway and you can see stadiums peeking out at you from all over the place. I'm staying at the same place Pete always stays (it is all organized through our colleauges at the China University of Geosciences - Chinese geologists get their own University!), so he gave me the inside line on the important places. Pete is another grad student in my department; he brought me on to this project, which is his thesis work, to collect and analyze all the geochemical samples.

One is this internet cafe. Pete's description was of a hole-in-the-wall entrance, stairs leading down to an internet cafe. What he didn't say is that the stairs open into a room that has a huge bank of 100+ computers (bigger than I remember the UW computer bank in the library being), complete with high school-aged boys playing the kinds of computer games that seem like they could suck weeks of your life away in a single sitting.

I spent the morning doing a few errands. I stopped into a grocery/convenience store to buy some snacks for the early flight to Dunhuang tomorrow, and heard a muzak version of that terrible song from the movie Titanic playing over the loud speakers. I felt like I could have been back in the Safeway at home; it is good to know some things in life are universal.

This afternoon I went to the Summer Palace for a little sightseeing; the sky seemed like it was ready to open up the whole time, but it never did more than spit and the Palace and gardens were beautiful.

Tomorrow morning I'm getting on a plane and flying to Dunhuang, where Pete & Co. are picking me up and driving straight to Golmud. I think we'll be there for a day or two, to acclimate as much as anything else.

1 comment:

Trifarina said...

universal muzak perhaps... but did the snacks consist of dried squid eyeballs?