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Trashy in China.2, Day 3

A funny thing about travelling is that your body can be all up and at ’em, raring to go one day and then for no readily apparent reason, feel like it has been dragged through a phalanx of ReformCon Christian zealots armed with Tasers the next. And, since I am here on business, ya gotta suck it up and make your way through the work day.

And today (yesterday for most of you) is not one of the more pleasant days.

In spite of lots of sleep, no undue stress, nothing out of the ordinary at all, I feel ten times worse than I did yesterday. Travelling across many time zones is like that. Not only does the ol’ bod have to adapt to completely different food, water and air, it also has to deal with day being night and night being day. And you really can’t do a lot about this other than getting as much sleep as possible, not overeating and laying off the booze a bit.

But in spite of feeling crappy from time to time, one is very reluctant to let up on the gas very much. This is China! And things can happen that may result in this being my last visit so everyone wants to take advantage of being here as much as possible. Priorities change and all of us are quite aware that the proverbial rug could be pulled out from under the project at any time. This is only my second mission here but even those veterans who have been over here 7 or 8 times still want to take advantage of being in a place that they may well never get to again. So we are reluctant to turn down a dinner at a new restaurant, a tour of some temple or a trip to a new market. This enthusiasm about taking in as much as possible doesn’t help one’s physical well-being, but it sure is good mentally.

Work-wise, this has been a trying day. Without being specific, we have been listening to our Chinese colleagues talk about the functionality of a very complex database that they have developed. Very exciting stuff. Yeah. On Thursday afternoon, we move into the subject responsible for my being here so things will perk up quite a bit.

About the meetings themselves, they are very long – twice as long as the actual content since translation is not simultaneous. One of us speaks for 30 seconds or so, stops, and then one of the two interpreters repeats what was said in the other language. As is the norm on international trips like these, one has to use diplomatic language using terms like “we suggest”, “perhaps you would consider”, “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand”, etc. We are addressed and address our colleagues as “Mr.”, “Mrs.” And “Ms”, and the seating arrangements at the meetings and the banquets (this mission’s is being held tomorrow night – I’ll go into the whole banquet thing in a later post) reflect the relative stature of the attendees.

At the meetings, tea is served and frequently refilled throughout the day by a couple of girls wielding very large thermoses filled with boiling water. This is pretty cool.

On this particular mission, we take lunch in the department’s cafeteria where we are treated to copious amounts of noodle dishes, meats of different (and often unidentifiable) varieties, mushrooms and fungi, and fried veggies. Not bad grub but, as I noted above, it does not pay to over eat… you feel very heavy later in the afternoon and staying awake can be a challenge.

After lunch, the group of us usually goes for a walk to settle down the food, and then we return, meet until 4 or 4:30 then the bus takes the bunch of us back down the main drag to the hotel.

And that, folks, is my workday in Beijing. And I’m feeling a bit better now. The walk at lunch did its trick.


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  1. […] The end of the month was all about my second visit to Beijing – and it looks as if I’ll be back there in April 2011. […]

  2. XUP says:

    I feel your pain – literally. My first day back I was okay – tired and kind of out of it, but okay. Then yesterday was brutal. I woke up with a fierce headache and nausea which didn’t go away until I went home at 11:00 and crashed out for about 4 hours. Today I’m better. They say it takes one day for every time zone crossed to get over jet-lag. You should pick up some of those No Jet Lag tablets next time. I used them on the way out and was fine, so I figured I didn’t need them on the way home. (brilliant reasoning, eh?) They’ve actually been scientifically proven to work – the only thing in fact that has been for jet lag

  3. trashee says:

    You really want me dead, don’t you?

  4. I double dare you to rent a scooter a whizz around!

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