Hopefully the summer months have found you well. I have been slowly getting comfortable with my summer placement as a laboratory assistant at Zhejiang University of Technology. I am getting into a good routine with the experiments that the graduate students and I are working on.
I’ve been in Hangzhou China for nearly two months now so I am getting more familiar with the city and its unique culture. One thing to know about the food is they do not let any of it go to waste, from duck tongue to chicken feet everything is edible meat and can be found on the menu. The chicken feet kind of make me feel like E.T. can no longer phone home. But they also have very common (and very delicious) dishes which I try not to stray away from.
I’ve been busy these past few months, but it’s not like my schedule during the school term… I have some very simple, easy and fun commitments that occupy my time here. I’ll post a new blog on my work involvement sometime next week. Meanwhile outside of the lab I spend time with events such as visiting landmarks, shopping centres, bars, night clubs and various other scenic places. I’ve also been travelling outside the city to the suburbs/farmland. Even though I am here on business I have found plenty of time to enjoy my summer in this overseas city. As far as transportation goes, I can use a bike, walk, bus, cab, even boat rides are cheap. Since Hangzhou has a river cutting right through its city, boats are a relatively cheap way to get around town (1$CDN for a 30 min ride).
I have been lucky enough to have some entertaining evenings, most being social events such as dinners/meetings with some professors, staff and students here at Zhejiang University of Technology. The photo below is from a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between ZJUT and UWO, the ‘2+2’ agreement is a new exchange opportunity for both universities. This signing ceremony was held in an exquisite conference room and in attendance were some of ZJUT’s senior administration such as their Vice-President, Dean of Engineering, Vice-Dean and Directors. On behalf of my home university was Western’s Provost, Chem Eng Professor and us three students on summer placement. It was a nice evening and quite humbling to hear from such an important figure at Western that we are excellent ambassadors. Before proceeding to a very traditional Chinese dinner accompanied by ZJUT’s staff, there was a nice gift exchange at the signing and afterwards the two other Western students and I gave a tour of the campus to our Provost.
I’ve also had plenty of time to travel and visit various tourist attractions in Hangzhou. I’ve been pretty lucky that my professor wants us to experience China as much as he wants us to work. This puts me in a nice and relaxed position when I go and ask for time off because he loves hearing my different excuses, he just smiles then nods and throws me a couple words of wisdom on wherever I’m planning to go. I am taking a high speed train to Shanghai this weekend with other students from UWO, but I have already been to the cities, Xi’an and Linhai, within China.
The photo below includes UWO’s Provost Janice Deakin (fifth from the left) and ZJUT’s Vice-President Xionian Li (sixth from the left). My Professor who I am working for in Hangzhou is Professor Pan (second from the right) and UWO’s Professor Zhu (third from left) set up this summer exchange.
The photo above was taken near one of the hundreds of busy intersections in Hangzhou. The city is fairly well developed, with an infrastructure strong enough to support its 8+ million residents.
The photo below is from the very popular Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou. I’ve been told the Chinese have a saying for this city that translates as “Heaven above, Hangzhou below”. The city is known for being built around its beautiful lake and mountains.
Thanks for reading my blog update about my experiences in Hangzhou. Yall can look forward on getting another few updates about the work and travels that I have accomplished since being here.