on Monday 18

Monday I checked out, and walked the few blocks down to the intersection, across a 6 lane street, and through the gates of the “Institute of High Energy Physics”.  I walked through the campus and up to the main building. If you should ever visit –  it’s the most modern looking one, with the dark green tinted windows. (See the picture from two posts ago).

I hauled my suitcase up to the 4th floor, down the hall and found the office we’d be working in.  Coincidentally it was also the moment Dan (my professor, I’m only going to say it this time.  Next time you’ll have to remember – sorry) chose to be walking in as well.  He had just gotten in that morning, and was walking up to the office for the first time this visit as well. With him was Nick, a Swiss post-doc who is in China .. more or less permanently… till the end of his contract.  For those of you not in physics, a person generally gets their undergrad, goes to grad school, pics up their masters after two years of intensive course study, then continues with a couple more years of research before defending their thesis and being awarded their PhD.  (this can take anywhere for 5 to sometimes 8 years – if you’re unlucky enough to get a slow professor, or have your experiment canceled on you, or finished, or not even start, as is the case with a bunch of students at the LHC who’ve waited years for some real data, it can take even longer).  After you get a PhD you usually get post-doctoral positions where you continue doing research for a couple years, and then apply for tenure-track type jobs on your way to becoming professors. This is where a lot of people ditch and go to industry, as professor line jobs are few and far between.   Nick, Dan, Dan and I decided to set the bags down, and go to lunch – Yinghua, our English speaking liaison with the institute, was out of the office.  Dan version 2 is a graduate student at the University of Rochester in NY.  He was an undergrad at the UofM, which is kind of fun.  (dan v. 2 will be referred to as Ambrose, from here on out, in deference to his last name).

The wonderful thing about the restaurants around here is, there’s always a great abundance of variety, and it’s all very cheap.  When the 4 of us go out, Nick orders about 5 or so dishes out of one big picture menu book the waitress brings, which are then always served family style. So family style that, we often don’t’ bother to use personal plates and just pick out of them with our chopsticks as we want bite by bite.  This meal we had a plate of fresh cut cucumbers in soy sauce, a steamed leafy green vegetable in a vinegar/soy sauce with peanuts (very yummy), fried rice (very restaurant specific – always a bit unique), shrimp on a stick, served in a bed of salt lit on fire (that was for the boys – Nick pulled off the head and stuck the skewer in his mouth, pulling off the tail it after he’d removed the thing from the skewer — Dan has a bit less adventurous demeanor and removed the legs/tentacles, the head and tail, and skinned it before partaking).

I think we had 5 or so dishes.  Plenty, with some to bring home. It was all very filling. It also seems to be no problem at all to order vegetarian – I wasn’t sure what to expect in country, but I’m enjoying the food so far.

Ok. Almost 8pm. Past my bedtime. More later.

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