We interrupt our regularly scheduled knit-blogging for some travel posts, unfortunately without pictures because blogger is blocked in you-know-where. (Although do you think they'd post if I emailed them to the same address I send posts to?)
(Actually, a quick knitting thought first: I'm still waffling about the pockets. The combined suggestion that I add buttons first, then think about it, was very good--and them my mom emailed that maybe I could make and sew on just one pocket, then decide, which appeals to my waffle-y nature. Waffling about pockets will recommence when I get home.)
Anyway, the trip: getting out of town was little uncoordinated--my rowing club hosted a race the day before we left, so we both spent all day there instead of packing. Then the plane was late leaving NYC, which made it late to Beijing, which meant that we missed the flight to Nanjing (where the work part of the trip is). So Air China put us up in a hotel overnight, and we got to Nanjing about 12 hours later than planned. It was fine for us (and we were very glad to be at ground level for a while, after the 13 hour flight to Beijing), but the poor conference organizers had to juggle a packed schedule to fit Kevin in later than originally planned.
I'm so glad we're (mostly) calm travelers. There was a pair of passengers on the plane who also missed their flight due to the delay, and one of them ranted at the ticket counter people (who had nothing to do with the delay!), thought the air line should have held their connection, thought the bus to the hotel smelled, was cranky checking in, and is probably still complaining. It rarely helps, and just makes things more stressful.
So at this point, we've conferenced for 2 days, eaten enough for a month, and are about to set out for a couple of days of sightseeing in this region with the hosts and the other participants. On Saturday, we (and our gigantic suitcases of bicycle) fly west, for the biking portion of the trip. I suspect there won't be much email access in the hotels once we leave this area, although who knows?
Speaking of eating enough for a month, most of the meals (not breakfast) have been fancy banquets. We all sit around a big table and the waitstaff brings course after course of tapas-size portions. But those little portions add up when you can eat them all (we told them I'm a vegetarian, and all of the restaurants have brought out a vegetarian option for each of the courses without raising an eyebrow--sometimes it's just more of the veggie part of the regular dish, sometimes something completely different. I was especially excited to finally try soup topped with puff-pastry. I love puff pastry!) Last night, someone thought we were almost finished.... but it turned out the meal was only half over (you can tell the end is near because all the meals so far have ended with greens, then sweet melons and other fruit, then rice or noodle soup).
Anyway... must pack!