We got here on Wednesday afternoon, and instantly went to see the Olympic Park, where the 2008 Olympics took place. There we met Na, who lives here in Beijing, but also studies with Linzhen at Northeastern. It is great we get to meet so many friends in a place so far away! The 'Bird's Nest' stadium must be one of the most beautiful and visually challenging structures I have ever seen. It is so surreal, I just love it. Close to the stadium was the so-called Water Cube, where all the swimming events took place. This is another example of amazingly original architecture. So we were there during the day, but we also made another drive by later that night, just so we could see the structures lit up as well. Here are some pictures:
Apart from many interesting foods, we also got to see a lot more sights. We went for drinks that first night in a bar. We all planned to take it pretty easy since it had been a short night and a long day, but once we discovered we could get two mixed drinks (Whiskey Coke's for me) for a mere $1.50, there was no taking it easy! It was quite fun. We got home at 2AM, which isn't too late, but I still had to finish a conference paper which was due at Midnight in the US. Thankfully, the time difference allowed to work on it until noon here, the next day, which is exactly the amount of time I ended up needing.
The next day we went to one of the most popular shopping centers, where you can literally find anything FAKE you could want. The only problem was that the things were so fake I didn't want them after all. I bought a couple of things that day, including a T-shirt for myself and some presents for other people. I'm gonna have a lot of luggage coming back to the Netherlands this summer! We had a delicious PIZZA dinner at the little shopping street again, with some of the other students from America. You can see a couple of them in the picture below:
You're not allowed to start a fire on the roof of your car? On which streets CAN you do this?
Today (Friday), we had to wake up quite early again, because we were going to visit a couple of universities here, where my advisor, Prof. Lin and Bo studied. So, we got to meet our professor too. It seems like everyone from our lab is in Beijing right now :) At the universities we got a tour of their research labs (JEALOUS!!) and Dave and I both held presentations about our own work at Northeastern. After another long day, we were invited by a friend of Linzhen's family to have dinner in one of the coolest, fanciest places in Beijing: the rotating restaurant in the city's Television tower, which is also that tallest building. This was a buffet place, but the food was absolutely fabulous. Just to give an indication of how great is was: on my first plate, I assembled: Boston Melon Salad (Yay Boston), Blueberry Grilled Pork, John Rambo Cheese Grilled Pineapple (Had to try it because of the ridiculous name, but it was just as delicious too), and Hawaiian Chicken Salad. We also had steak.. AND there was a Chocolate fountain with tons of fruit! And did I mention the place was rotating? :) We were up at a hight of 238 meters (781 ft), and beautiful views of the the city slowly passed by as the night fell. Again, here are some pictures of the night.
(The best part is that he didn't know I was taking this picture)