The bird's nest from taxi
So after the most lengthy flight in my short lifetime, which included a nice viewing of the North Pole (Santa's property needs some work), I finally touched down in Beijing
. The airport is very beautiful and has a strange roof which is reminiscent a robotic potato chip. The place is massive as any in the US, but the entry was easy. The official gave my paper a quick look, one simple question and stamp stamp I am in. The line at customs was about 30 deep, and I saw a few people going off to the right, so I gestured that way to an official, who nicely waved me over. It turns out it was the door out, and I arrived outside of customs, no need to search the confused laowei.
I looked through the throngs of people lined up at the exit holding names of people they never met, looking for Hongliang, my contact from the Chinese Acadmey of Sciences. He was right at the end with my name proudly displayed like I was some rich dude looking for my limo. He was kind and welcoming and we got in a taxi and left. On the way to the hotel (which is really a sort of hostel for the school's visitors), we chatted about the world and life, the basics, his english was quite nice. The city came into view and was grey and massive, covered in smog and mystery. Out of the corner of my eye I spied the bird's nest where the Olympics will be held, and the big bubble-wrap building. We finally got there and it was a nice area around the school, but looked like a construction zone.
i like this one
I would come to find that all of Beijing is a huge construction zone, like a teenage girl in the bathroom for five hours gettting ready for a three hour date. The room was no frills, but at least had internet, and a view of the street. We left to meet with Prof. Liu and have some dinner. I met Dr.Liu at the New Orleans ACS meeting, and he quickly invited me to his school to speak. He did the same when it came to dinner, Peking Duck was a must do for me. A few other lucky students came along, and we enjoyed a real feast, including a liter of Beijing local beer, which was very similat to Tsingtao beer. I loved all the food, and we ate the Peking duck inside little pancakes which are basically tortillas, and added some brown sauce and onions to it, delicious. After the meal I went around with Hongliang a bit and saw a few places, then retired to my room where I got some much needed sleep XP