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Six days in Jinan

June 6, 2012

…might have been too many.  No, I kid, it was fine.

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It’s just that I had a mini-meltdown the night we arrived.  There was no source of drinking water, we had a fancy banquet where they kept pouring tea and wine and all I really wanted was a glass of water, we ate cicadas and sea cucumber soup… things were not looking good.  Thankfully, everything seems better in the morning, we were provided with bottles of water, and not every meal was a fancy banquet meal with six mandatory toasts and weird food (although there was a good amount of weird food).

Anyway, we were in Jinan to talk about polymers.CIMG0993

(I really want to know what that last line says, the one with the exclamation point.)

I spent the first half of our trip frantically trying to learn about ROMP (ring-opening metathesis polymerization).  I’ve picked up some really random knowledge about polymers (not my area of expertise) between grading for DT’s class one summer and this trip.  By the time we gave our talks, I could talk about ROMP with my eyes closed:IMG_4318

(haha.)

Sarah talked about click chemistry:IMG_4322

And DT talked about living free radical polymerizations.  His teaching style is very interactive, so he likes to have a board to write on, and ideally, lots of audience participation.  This was a little challenging in China, but he made it work.IMG_4327

DT also gave a few other talks about our lab’s research and sustainable polymers, and Sarah and I presented on how to write a scientific paper.  Everyone seemed to like our talks!  Overall it went very well.  It was really interesting to see a Chinese university, and all the students and professors we met were really nice.

Here are some more pictures of the campus.  While we were walking around campus the first afternoon we were there, this random student of finances came up to us and wanted to practice his English.  He told us all about how he and his friends would get together to eat “snakes” (snacks) and hike in the hills.  He also very kindly invited us over for dinner.CIMG0999

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There were lots and lots of ping-pong tables.CIMG0998

The hotel we stayed at was…CIMG1008

intimidating?  From the outside.  Inside, there were ornate benches and chairs:CIMG1005

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And the dining room was always decorated for a party (there were at least two weddings while we were there).IMG_4317

Breakfast consisted of corn gruel, dumplings, and various dishes that looked like they should be served for dinner (spicy vegetables, etc).  It was a daily struggle to get a shot of hot water to drink.IMG_4316

The hotel was also part of a military complex (?), and we were warned not to go into the hills behind the hotel…CIMG1006

Our typical schedule was corn gruel breakfast, lectures all morning, lunch with a professor or two, work on our talks and/or grade gen chem papers until DT needed to go for a walk, dinner with a larger group of people, and taking DT on walk #2.IMG_4269

We were on a very busy street (that picture was taken by DT when he was out walking at about 5 am), so we mostly did loops up and down the street.  In the evenings, street markets would spring up and they would get very crowded.IMG_4342

By this point in the trip, we were all aching for ice cream, since it was very warm.  We met up with some students who took us to McDonald’s (ha!) for McFlurries.IMG_4404

They were all so nice, and it was a ton of fun to talk to them.  Plus the ice cream renewed our spirits!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2012 8:02 am

    It seems so much more normal and less stressful looking back… You inspired me to post that picture of me presenting on FB, one time where DT’s stalking was actually nice!

    • June 6, 2012 8:06 am

      Right? But pictures can’t capture the smells, the foods, the tiredness, the caffeine-withdrawl…

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