Wednesday, June 18, 2008

QCLOPS Arrives!

It has been a very busy week thus far and we have only just finished up Wednesday!
On Sunday, June moved out of our apartment and into her "dorm room" as she began her NSF EAPSI program. She and I moved all of her things to the Mining University. When we arrived at the University, the cab driver let us off at the front gate. It turned out that we really needed to be let off at some other building and it took us awhile to figure that out (language barrier) and to get all of her suitcases to the right place.

It was graduation day at the Mining University and June and I enjoyed seeing the hoods. They all seemed to be made of silk and were floral. Some of the students had yellow floral and some seemed to have red floral. We weren't quite sure what the students exactly were doing for graduation as they seemed to be standing outside the gate for the hour or so we were at the university. We also watched them toss their caps into the air. June was given the largest plastic key we had ever seen. It turned out you needed to stick this in a slot to get the AC to work. The "dorm" wasn't quite what June was expecting but she was mostly sad that there was no internet!

On Monday, I waited for QCLOPS to arrive at IAP. Next to the guard's station, there is a bunny on a leash who helps to "guard" IAP.... Finally, after having made it safely through customs, QCLOPS arrived in 2 vans! Luckily Dr. Wang has lots of graduate students who were willing to help us get QCLOPS from the vans into the "lab." The boxes arrived perfectly and when we opened them they were exactly as we had packed them. And we got to work....

When we tried to get liquid nitrogen, we found out that we can't just get liquid nitrogen whenever we want. Instead, we can only get it when the lab that uses it gets it delivered. Therefore, we decided to order our own tanks. We called to get it delivered. The nitrogen itself is about 50 cents per liter but the deposit on the tanks is about $600 so we had to go to the bank as they only take cash! We decided to combine a trip to the bank with a trip to Starbucks for an afternoon jolt. We were also thrilled to find out that there was high speed internet at Starbucks, much faster than in our apartment! We know where we'll be finding June!

Yan took us to a hotpot restaurant which is kind of like fondue except you don't have fondue sticks but you do have chopsticks. We each had our own little pot so I could eat lots of veggies and Yan could eat lots of meat. The food in restaurants in China is very inexpensive. They also always bring you all these "free" dishes. Yan sometimes asks for a discount and they often oblige. The receipts also have scratch off things where you can win money off your dinner. It's all very confusing.

Science is a little different here and I am enjoying the experience very much! The liquid nitrogen arrived and I had to give 4000 rmb in cash to a man in a van. I can't imagine that every happening at Princeton! The "lab" space is a room which I think has typically been used as a meeting room in the past. It is where the drinking water is so people come in and out all day.There is also a rice cooker in the room but so far no one has used that! The room looks right into the guards room outside and you can also see the 2 towers out the window. There is one very friendly professor who can't speak any English but is very smiley and nice. He always waves and says hello when he comes to get water or sees me at IAP. QCLOPS is now all set up and aligned! It needs some more tweaking but I have a good signal all the way through so I am happy now! Actually I was very happy the minute I saw a signal from the laser! Tomorrow I will let it run in the lab for a long time and see how well it runs.

There is a nice green space, as Yan calls it, or a park, as I call it, about a 2 min walk from IAP. Here there is a canal where you can sit or walk. I took my lunch and sat and walked here the last couple of days to get some "fresh air." I say fresh because the Professor who sits in the office opposite to my "lab" chain smokes in his office. It is a really beautiful park and nice to get outside for a little bit. Yan tells me in July and August that I won't want to go outside at all due to the heat!

I took some photos of some signs that I thought were funny or confused me. I am not sure why there will be so many emergencies in the park!

And finally a few random photos....


1 comment:

Αλέξανδρος Ντελέκος said...


The photos are great. Thanks for doing this. I am almost experiencing China from my computer by following you around and learning about the local customs... Plus, I get to see June :-). Scratch off receipts to get free stuff for dinner? Woowww!!! I would never imagine this would exist.

You all seemed very happy in the starbucks. Internet and lattes around... Anna seemed in her natural habitat.

Take care,