Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Paper update... I lied about this being the last post. I mentioned earlier that my group was submitting our paper to PNAS. Apparently, they decided to change plans and submit it to the Journal of the American Chemical Society instead. The peer review process just started and it will take a few months for that to happen. I'll try to post the paper here once it has been published.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The last post

So this will be the last blog post that I write. Before I close, I just would like to say that I've had an amazing summer doing research and seeing the sights. I enjoyed hanging out with other 11 members of our group plus all of the Chinese friends that we've met throughout the summer. My experiences here this summer will remain with me for the rest of my life.

If you're reading this blog now in late 2008/early 2009 and considering this program, just know that you can learn chemistry anywhere in the world but you can only experience Chinese culture in China. It's a dynamic place that is much different now than what it was 10 years ago and it will be much different in 2020 than it is today.

Please don't hesitate to send me questions about anything relating to the trip. I'll be more than happy to answer them and I'd love to talk more about my experiences if you are interested. Thanks to everyone for reading the blog!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Last Few Days/Back Home

Thursday: The gang went to the Capital Museum to see some of China's ancient artifacts. It was pretty cool but there wasn't a whole lot there. We went to Xidan afterward to shop at the clothing market and to buy food to take back to the states. We had our presentations that night...Skype kept dropping us so we couldn't really hear what was going on in Michigan. Everyone that presented did an excellent job.

Friday: Everyone else went tea shopping while Xu and I went to Fragrant Hills park. It's a really scenic park with great views of the city. We made 3 km climb to the top of the mountain and it was quite a climb. But the views of the city were worth the climb.

Saturday: I finished packing and went to Summer Palace that afternoon. The architecture of the buildings is really great but I think the place has too many souvenir shops. Most of the places require extra admission to see some of the more important places there, which I didn't have time to see. We all ate our last dinner together at a restaurant down from our apartment.

Sunday: We got a rude awakening at 0400 by the cleaning staff kicking us out of our rooms. We head for the airport where we underwent 3 separate security checks, including a pat down and physical inspection of our bags at the gate in addition to the normal security and immigration checks. We fly to Tokyo and say goodbye to Xu and Nicole. Customs in Detroit was easy; just tell them you don't have food and you won't get your bags opened. I got home around 2200 that night after 30 hrs of traveling.

So that's about the last of my blogging...I might post some closing remarks later in the week.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Olympic Village/Filet mignon

It seems that I've been hanging out with Alisa, Donna, Kelly, and Zach over the last several days seeing stuff around the city. Xu came back from visiting his relatives and joined our gang that headed out to the Olympic Village. One of the guys from Zach's lab also joined us. We were walking around National Stadium taking pictures when we saw these guys carrying stools and small bags walking in formation. We quickly learned that these guys were actually PLA soldiers...and there were several thousand of them walking around. They were all giving Kelly strange looks! We also got to get pretty close to the Water Cube as well.

Zach, Donna, and I went to Alameda for dinner. It's a restaurant over in the Sanlitum bar street area that serves "contemporary cuisine" (whatever that means). I had scallops with green beans for a starter and a filet mignon for my entree. The food was absolutely amazing! The sauces that accompanied each were delicious, the scallops were great, and the filet was tender (only 158 RMB for both). We also had dessert (another 38 RMB); I had an orange tiramisu that was nicely prepared, although it was a bit small for the price. Needless to say, we were quite happy after we finished our meal. I think that was one of the best meals I've had anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Closing thoughts: For the record...

For the record, I'd like to say I've had a blast on this trip! I just spent 11 weeks together with one of the most amazing groups of people I have ever met. I have enjoyed spending time with everyone this summer. I'm going to wake up every morning back home and wonder where everyone is...and be in for a real shock when I convince myself I'm the only one there. It's going to be lonely being apart from everyone else. But we all have school to attend. I hope the 12 of us can meet again sometime.

While I didn't learn much Chinese this summer, I did learn a lot of chemistry and how research works in a real chemistry lab. I also learned a lot about the Chinese culture. Everything I learned will remain with me for the rest of my life. If you get a chance to do research there, do it!

So this is probably the last blog post I'll write. Thanks to the readers that have been following my blog this summer!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Art district/Old Summer Palace/A "Fowl" Farewell

Zhaleh left us on Sunday to head back to the states...we miss her already! Xu has been visiting his relatives for the last several days.
Zach, Alisa, and I went to the 798 art district near the airport with some folks from Zach's lab. There were all these small galleries that we saw with different kinds of modern art in them. Right after our delicious lunch, Zach and I went to use the W.C. (as Zach would call it). When I stepped up to the urinal, it started to overflow greatly, causing my leg to get just a bit wet and triggering a dash from the loo. (I tell this story because Zach found this so funny and dared me to post this on the blog. So this post is for you, Zach.)

Monday: We had our last group lunch at the Japanese restaurant today. Then we walked around the ruins of the Old Summer Palace. The flowers there are pretty nice and I got a scroll that barely fits in my large suitcase. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to see there. My lab group took me out to Quanjude Peking Duck restaurant for my "farewell" dinner. The duck was absolutely fantastic! Quack, quack!

Friday, July 25, 2008

One more week...

So I went in on Friday and found out we aren't going on our trip to 内蒙古...what a shame! So I'll be hanging out for the next week. I went out to dinner at Lush with everyone Saturday at Wudaokou. I think I will go to an art show with Zach and some folks from his lab Sunday morning. Not sure what the rest of the week holds. I plan on going back to 天安门 and taking some more pictures of 毛泽东. I don't plan on going back to 北京大学 this week since it is a pain in the ass to access it. I probably should also go to 颐和园 since not doing so would be doing a disservice to myself. Next Sunday I will fly to 東京 (this might be hard to figure out) before flying back to the U.S.
So where am I going this week? I'd like to see if anyone can figure out where I plan to go.

Before I forget, I'd like to thank Tom's mom for reading my blog. She told me that she was finding out more info about Tom from my blog than she was from Tom's own blog. Interesting...