Monday, June 14, 2010

Back in Trondheim again after a week at the Bluetooth UPF-36 in Beijing. That was my first trip to China. It's somewhat overwhelming to go straight from sleepy Trondheim to Beijing in one day. There are 5 times as many people in Beijing as there are in the entire country of Norway. I went with 2 other engineers from Nordic and we stayed in the Intercontinental Hotel which is basically across the street from most of the Olympic venues that were built for the 2008 Olympics. It seems like they don't really know what to do with all of it now though. All the buildings have big white fences built to keep people out, although you can walk up and down the open area between the bird's next stadium and the other buildings. The hotel is very nice, partly because there is approximately 1 employee for every 2 guests. Any hotel or restaurant manager in the U.S. would have a heart attack if they saw how many people were working there. Most of them sort of standing around until somebody told them to do something. The staff was quite helpful though and many of them spoke english well enough to figure out what we were asking for. I did get admonished once by one of the bellhops for giving a taxi driver too big of a tip. The bill was 33 yuan ( about 5 dollars ) and I gave him 40. The bellhop rushed over and said "no no! bill 33 yuan you should only give him 34 now!" Well I thought a 3% tip seemed a bit stingy so I let him keep the 40.
We didn't have a lot of time for sightseeing but we did make it to the Great Wall the day before we had to come back. I enjoyed that except for the gaunlet of trinket sellers you had to wade through to get up there. The tourist areas in Beijing have some very aggressive sellers who will literally grab you or get in your way so you can't get by without acknowledging them. We hiked a long way on the wall, maybe 3 kilometers or so (uphill) until we got to a place where the restored part of the wall ended. When we got back to the entrance the guide that brought us there seemed surprised that we went that far.
"Oh, I never have a group go that far!"
(me) "How long have you been coming up here?
"12 years".
Leave it to Norwegians. (It wasn't my idea)
While I'm on the subject of tourists, is it my imagination or are Americans hard of hearing? Why are they SO LOUD? I could hear my fellow merican's coming like a herd of cheese-doodle eating rhinos from about a half a mile away on top of the wall. I pretended to be from Canada.

Posted by PicasaI was filming traffic out of the back of a van when there was an accident in front of us. Watch how annoyed the black Mercedes gets when he can't get by us. It has diplomatic plates and the special little blue and red lights stuck in the grill.

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