This is my experience in Beijing, China in the Summer of 2009.
If you came to this webpage first, it's better if you
start from the beginning of the story.
Thursday, July 30
Got up to see the Topas lecture at 10am.
As expected, it was pretty good although he lectured
more on presentation theory than specific effects. Good stuff.
FISM Day 5,
This was Susan's first time to Beijing and we had extra time so
we took a taxi to Tianamen Square.
On the souvenir hotel map of Beijing, it looks like Tianamen is very close to the hotel.
But it took the taxi a good
40 minutes to get there! That's the
same amount of time to go to the West Train Station from the hotel!
Needless to say, the distance was farther than we thought.
I did take some videos
of Beijing's street life while in the taxi though.
When we arrived, we had to go through a security checkpoint, including putting our bags through an x-ray machine
and being scanned by metal detectors,
just to enter Tianamen.
Tianamen Square itself was in a haze because of Beijing's air pollution. The stones were a dirty black
now (I remember they were white when I first saw Tianamen!)
Mao's face was blurry and I was standing relatively close to Mao.
It was depressing really.
I remember at one time, you could see Mao's face clearly if you stood all the way
on the other side of Tianamen Square! The air was very clean then.
Commodities like cold bottled water and batteries were surprisingly reasonably
priced inside Tianamen. Perhaps there were government price controls here.
We took a few pictures and decided we should head back to the hotel.
I was thinking about going to the Forbidden City which was nearby but I understand they stopped selling
admission tickets after 3:30pm and it was nearly that time.
03/18/11 Update -
I added a video of Tianamen Square! Check out the link below.
Our first problem was finding a taxi that would take us back to the hotel. Several
drivers we approached wouldn't take us due to the traffic at that time. We finally found a
driver who agreed to take us back. But he got lost and couldn't find the hotel.
It took us over an hour to get back to the hotel. By this time, the FISM Social Banquet
was about to start in a few minutes!
The Social Banquet was again VERY, VERY GOOD just like before!
The food was excellent. The service was impeccable.
The only negative is they cranked up the volume on the speakers
for the performers and it was really too loud.
After the banquet, I felt like walking outside to the Water Cube and Bird's Nest.
It rained earlier so it should be nice. The walk was
cool and easy. But by the time we got to the Bird's Nest, they already turned
off its lights! (around 10pm) So that was disappointing. But there was a building that
had strips on LED lights on one side of it so that it looked like an IC circuit board
or a monitor with only vertical slits showing. That was a Kodak moment.
We walked to the Pang Gu hotel (a 7 star hotel) but didn't see an obvious way in for
pedestrians so we turned back.
Back in the hotel room and not too soon. It's raining outside.
I'm planning tomorrow's day for FISM. The last day!