Learning to improvise is one of the greatest skills an individual can have, especially when traveling. Steven, with some help from Prof. Tubergen, finally managed to get his socks to dry (after hand-washing them) with some clever clothes-hanger rigging and convenient hotel architecture. Pictured below is a small pyramid of clothes-hangers suspending three pairs of socks from a small ledge running around the ceiling so that they hang directly in front of the A/C vent. It was very effective.
Today’s the day for what? For my official post, that’s what!
We visited Alibaba, walked around a bit, got some questions answered by a woman who works in HR, and then we went to the Grand Canal museum after we all split up to get lunch. Ben, Profs. Tubergen and Van Drunen, Mrs. Van Drunen and I all got lunch at a little food stand called “Chips and Fish” before going across the street to the museum where we walked around and looked at all the maps, dioramas, and model boats they had on display, though we couldn’t read any of the information plaques, so that made it a little difficult to appreciate the scope of impact the canal has had throughout history. The model boats were pretty cool, though. While we were waiting for the bus to pick us up, everyone was gathered together in our little American flock in the courtyard of the mall and we had the distinct privilege of watching a solitary Chinese girl do her best Avril Lavigne impression with her trusty skateboard. She was…well, she was trying her best, and I respect her boldness and confidence. After much cringing, and a few “ooh”s and “aah”s when she managed to stay upright after an attempted trick, Phillip buckled down, went over, and popped an ollie as cool as you like in his fancy business suit and tie. There were some good cheers after that.
Tomorrow there will probably be a lot of people heading towards the lake for biking, boating, hiking, and whatever else there is to do over there. Today was a pretty nice day, so it looks like we should have a nice weekend to enjoy the nature here in Hangzhou.
Today was the last day we had to wear our fancy clothes. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s really not that big a deal, but let’s be honest, fancy clothes are not made for comfort, and they’re especially not made for long bus rides. Anyways, we visited two places today, as usual: a bank and an ocular therapy franchise. The bank was….well, it was probably exciting for the accounting folks, but I did make some good progress on my final paper rough draft. Wiseye, the ocular therapy place, was an interesting experience. They had some great snacks, we all got scarves (pause here–just got a phone call from Isaac the awesome and wonderful, and apparently we have to dress up a bit for our visit to Alibaba tomorrow. Oh joy.) and they demonstrated some of their therapeutic devices on a few of us. One device was a thingamabob that looked like VR goggles that had been colored in by Kermit, which contained heating elements that stimulated blood flow to the eyes to “relax” them. Does it work? I dunno, it was sorta unclear what they were exactly supposed to do. The other doodad was the usual optometrist-style facerest, but it had some interesting lenses and a little bullseye running out in front of it on a track. The idea was to look through the lenses until your eyes focused on the bullseye, and then try to keep it in focus as it slid back and forth, closer and farther away from your eyes. Matt tried it and apparently it dramatically helped his eyesight, at least in the short term. We’ll see if he still has super-vision tomorrow. Anyways, it was an interesting introduction to some equipment we’d never seen or heard of before.
Fun fact: the only person who ever spelled my name right on the first try was a barista at Johnny’s. Good try, profs. Close, but no cee-gar.
The professors seem keen on us including pictures in our blogs, so I’ve included a snip of the blog site.
I really appreciate the “Howdy”. Whose idea was that? Is it the default, or did one of the profs customize it? We may never discover the truth behind this great mystery, but it did make me smile. And now it’s time for bed. G’night, all y’all. Happy trails.