Work and Travel

It’s Monday morning and Mike is off to Beijing University of Chemical Technology to meet with their faculty in polymer sciences and Stephen Cheng, Dean of Polymer Sciences from University of Akron. After the meetings there was a splendid banquet with the President of BUCT and some of the faculty.

After the banquet we were escorted to the airport for our trip to Xi’an, home of the Terra Cotta Warriors. We were in a different terminal – one for domestic flights. While waiting I decided to check out the shops to get some postcards to send home. Chinese people must not send postcards; they can only be found in the international terminal! The shops – Salvatore Ferragamo, BMW Lifestyle (bmw clothing line) and other high end shops. The bookstores carried only Chinese books; however I did purchase an equivalent of the ‘NOW version 37’ popular songs CDs. The women in the shop were most interested that I would purchase music in Chinese. Mike & I have listened to it – the songs are great – even though we can’t understand a word they are singing!

After landing in Xi’an we were met by Dr. Zhou from the Henan University Confucius Institute (CI). He in in the middle of a two year stint at University of Akron with our CI. He had a taxi driver and a friend, Dr. Zheng of Northwest University; between both vehicles we were able to get our luggage and us in and to the hotel.

At first, I was disappointed in Xi’an because of the reading I’d done in travel books – some were 2 years old (which means the material is about 4 years old).¬† I anticipated a smaller town, perhaps quaint even. But no, this has to be the fastest growing city anywhere in the world! There are 4.7 million within the city limits! One apartment complex had 55 buildings that were 25 stories tall. It also looks like a crane ‘convention’; I’ve never seen this many cranes anywhere! We even saw a few cranes being used to make other cranes taller. This also means the traffic is awful – sometimes because people walking or on bikes were on the main highways.

We arrived at our hotel without incident and were swept off to a banquet. We were joined her by 2 faculty from the Nursing program at University of Akron: Dr. Sheau Huey Chiu and Dr. Kathy Ross-Alaolmolki. They are working with the Nursing program at Henan University and came to join us for a few days in Xi’an. This restaurant had viewing windows of all the food choices. You made selections and they were delivered¬† your banquet room. I took some pictures – everything is beautifully presented.

An interesting note is that as of May 1, smoking is banned in open public places. This new rule is difficult for some to follow. The hotel lobby has someone to ask smokers in the lobby to take it out the front door. Elevators, non-smoking floors, restaurants all should be off-limits, but there is a learning curve with every new initiative.  Fortunately the airplanes are all non-smoking!