I Survived Beijing

Perhaps a slightly over dramatic blog title, but at times during the flight between Amsterdam and Beijing, I thought that I was going to die from either DVT or boredom. No entertainment (TV etc) combined with a long, long flight made Emma a grumpy guts. The flight combined with the lack of hotel room after being awake for 22 hours meant that things could only get better, they did!

My colleague and I decided to head out for a run at 06:30 on the Sunday morning. Any later and the heat/humidity was almost unbearable. I wore my trusty Garmin, and hoped that the ‘Global’ part of GPS would guide us back to the hotel if we got lost. Unfortunately my Garmin only started working and tracking our run after 15-minutes, lucky I spotted a sign for Beijing Normal University and we eventually made it back to our hotel.


I think the trace demonstrates that my Garmin was struggling to start with. The blue line is where we started our run, the red line is where the Garmin thinks we ran. Notice the long cool-down (more like warm-up) back to the hotel…

I presented my research on Monday, i.e. the first day of the conference.

Other than my usual trick of talking at over 100 mph, I think that it went OK. I didn’t panic about being allocated the main (huge) conference room. To be honest, I was totally under-prepared and still struggling with jet lag. I have, however, now presented my work at an international conference, so cross that item off my study aims list.

On Tuesday I was selected for the ‘Rest of the World’ basketball team; it’s amazing people think that just because someone is tall, that they can play basketball. I was useless, and in the end the Chinese team bet the Rest of the World team by a significant margin. We all noted that it was strange that very few none of the Chinese team had been seen in the conference…

With huge apologies to all of the others in the photo (the score had been changed around).


On Wednesday we had a morning of presentations and in the afternoon we were driven the short distance to the Forbidden City; an amazing experience. Thursday was a full day of presentations followed by the formal conference dinner, and then Friday was the highlight of my trip, the Great Wall of China.


I have never seen so many people in such a small area. This photo gives an idea of the numbers of people trying to enjoy their Great Wall experience. It doesn’t illustrate just how steep some of the climbs were. There is no way people would be allowed to climb an equivalent wall in the U.K.


Once back at the hotel, I paid the local McDonald’s another visit and then started the sad task of saying farewell to some of the other delegates. It’s strange thinking that I’ll probably never get to attend another international conference or meet these people again. At least I got the chance to attend the conference, there were very few international PhD students.

Now I’ve more or less fully recovered from my jet lag, I’ve got three Trent chapters to complete by the end of the month, before I make a start on the Great River Ouse.  I also need to get my running and half marathon training back on schedule.

Finally, would I visit China again? Yes!!

However, next time I would prefer to experience Shanghai


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