I’ve got Gobi all over my shoes

I’m looking forward to playing tourist over the weekend. Today, though, was work again — the first day of the IBM Academy TC meeting. Since there were 20 of us making the trip from the hotel, they arranged a bus for us, and unsurprisingly, the bus took a different route than either taxi yesterday. En route, we passed what I hope is a museum rather than an operational facility:

mystery rocket:

China may have been a Communist country a few years ago, but those days are long past:

welfare lottery:

“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his luck?”

Eventually, we arrived at the IBM China Software Development Lab,
which is a few minutes away from the China Research Lab. The two groups are planning to co-locate in a new facility in another few months; in the meantime, CSDL occupies a floor of the conventional building in this photo:


I don’t know if there is a car park nearby, but the bike lot sure is popular. And the elevator makes me feel safe:

PRC Safety:

We’ve been inside all day, but when we got to our afternoon break, I went outside for a breath of fresh air, only to discover that today is less pleasant than yesterday was. And when I returned to the meeting, I found that I have Gobi all over my shoes:

Gobi on my shoes:

so I guess I’ll try out the shoe shine service at the hotel tonight.

But first, we have dinner scheduled at the Beijing Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant. I’m looking forward to it — lunch was sandwiches from Subway (no better and no worse than it would have been in California).

Dinner was worth waiting for (even worth the hour-plus drive to get there!) — besides the duck, we had at least ten appetizer courses (mostly vegetarian, but also chicken, beef, and fish as well) plus fruit for dessert and, of course, duck soup. I would go back any time — though I must admit that dinner was something of a splurge tonight. There were about 30 people at dinner, and the bill came to just over RMB 4000 (about $500 US, or $16/person, including drinks). In contrast, dinner last night cost about $4/person, again including drinks. And for the dishes in common (fish and chicken), the cheap restaurant was better — I may go back there later in my stay.

A Blue Sky Day

When I arrived yesterday, the air was thick and dark — so this morning when I opened my curtains, I was pleasantly surprised to find a bright and sunny day.

view from shangri-la:

I had a very nice breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant, then set forth by taxi for IBM’s China Research Lab, where I had a full day of meetings scheduled.

The trip took 30 minutes; the roads were thick with bicycles

698 commute scene:

and even UFOs

701 ufo:

but eventually, I made it to the lab

702 at crl:

where I spent the rest of the day inside, learning many things and meeting many people.

Eventually, I taxied back to the hotel, where I met a tableful of my Academy colleagues who were ready for dinner, as was I. We went to a nearby local restaurant, where English was not on the menu. But we coped, assisted by a local college student who spoke some English, and by the takeout restaurant menu I’d brought from home. The food wasn’t exactly like what I would have gotten at home — it was better — but having the menu did help.

And now it’s time to call it a night; tomorrow, the TC meeting begins in earnest. It’s a shame to spoil such a nice trip with so much work!