I finally got the Beijing hay fever from all the wind, dust, pollen blowing around. Discovered the yaodian, pharmacy, next door to the little market and bought some asipilin, aspirin. I examined the package carefully, and it looks like genuine Bayer but big effervescent tablets with some vitamin C, a great way to take aspirin! Box for 22 Y or $3.38, not cheap. The store smelled like Chinese herbs, ginseng, clean and brightly lit with pairs of pleasant sales girls behind every counter. They fill out a slip which you take to the cashier and bring it back stamped 'paid' to pick up your purchase.
Sitting on the grassy hill next to the office, I see small clumps of students under the wisteria pergola. A boy is playing a guitar and the others sing along. Big rain birds are lazily spouting arching streams of water. Fashions: red silk pajamas, shorts with flesh colored leggings and medium high heels, lots of long swirly skirts on the young girls with the warm weather.
A man smoking a cigarette is caught between rain birds and can't go forward or backward without getting his taupe gabardine trousers wet-- they just banned public smoking throughout China. Young girls run through, screaming and giggling wearing french t-shirt and jeans with glitter on the back pocket on one, short ruffled pink dress with tie straps on the other. Not too many hats or parasols today cause a little overcast but hot and spring like.
On Friday it sounded like squadrons of B52s over Tsinghua-- reminiscent of old WWII movies-- this went on for about 45 minutes. They had sent a squad of grounds keepers to our little park to mow and blow! Down the hall on or floor they are installing a farm of Dell processors in a room they have been preparing for weeks. The hallway is littered with big Dell and A/C boxes, copper coaxial cable, tool boxes and stuff.
I am labeling data in my gigantic excel spreadsheet comparison of 7 each universities from US , Asia , China and Europe . A mindless task that allows me to mull over the data as I click and tab through the 100s of fields, thinking about formulas, the implications, the similarities and differences. The new spreadsheets these days are pretty with colored schemes to help organize the columns and rows.
When I first moved into my apartment I was amused to find a booklet describing my place for "visiting scholars," so that made me a "visiting scholar!" Now I know a little more about the complex roles here. Altho I am a FE that doesn't make me a VS. While riding to the little shopping center with Monica, we passed an Asian guy who waved at us. She tells me he is a VS from USC who is a full professor there but he visits Tsinghua a few times a year, staying several weeks at a time to supervise doctoral students at Tsinghua. Monica also tells me about her own supervising professor who earned his doctorate in the US years ago. He comes to TU every 3 months to check on his research fellows like Monica. She is post doc and consequently her supervising prof is of higher stature than those supervising the younger, lower doc candidates.
So, these "visiting scholars" need somewhere to stay, but only for a short while, until the next VS moves in for a shot visit, and so on. The university is eager to attract quality VS and send recruiting agents around to "top" foreign universities to find them. Once here, they lavish them with perks such as a really nice apartment like mine-- really nice by TU standards.
Today, Saturday, I worked on my computer at the office, adding drop down windows to the menu on my new website and doing some housekeeping on my Peony Pavilion video. Lunch was Thai curry pasta 18Y or $2.77 and Americano caffe 14 Y $2.15 at the Times Cafe near the office on the ground floor level of the big student/staff canteen, filled with young people.
Hui tou jian