No more meetings (for now)

Today was the last day of the Academy TC meeting. After breakfast and the bus ride, we settled in for the home stretch, and accomplished everything on the agenda with minutes to spare.

Following the TC meeting, we joined the IBM Technical Experts Group – Greater China for part of their annual meeting; we learned about what they were doing and talked about our IBM careers. I’m afraid that having twenty-odd TC members speak may have been a bit much, because there was no time left at the end of the meeting for networking (but I’m hoping that some of the people at the meeting will get in touch electronically).

We said “farewell” to the China Software Development Lab and boarded the bus for a quick stop at the hotel, followed by a one-way trip to the Sanitiun Yashou Clothing Market, where we had almost 90 minutes to shop five floors of shops. I picked up an assortment of gifts, although I have much more shopping to do before I leave town, and might go back there (although there are many other places to try, too).

At a couple of minutes before 8, there was an announcement on the PA system — all of the vendors zipped their stalls closed and dashed off down the escalators, so the customers had no choice but to follow along. I met my colleagues at the entrance, and we set off for dinner.

The Lonely Planet guidebook said that Xiao Wang’s Home Restaurant was good and just across the street, so we wanted to try it. We couldn’t tell where it was, so we asked a policeman. He couldn’t understand our attempt at pronouncing the Mandarin from the book, but fortunately, the map at the back had Chinese characters and he told us exactly where to go. The food was very, very good — we had fried lotus roots with lots of peppers; meatballs; chicken with cashews in sweet and sour sauce; and fried fish with lots and lots of peppers. My companions also had fried bananas and vanilla ice cream. I’d go back again, even though the meal cost three times what we paid at the unnamed restaurant near the hotel on Monday night ($12 each).

Tomorrow morning, it’s off to the Great Wall!