Monday, July 10, 2006

...and relax

I should mention that in this post is an image which may be unpleasant to vegetarians.
I'd assured myself that football would not enter this blog again though today is going to be a minor exception. Last night was spent in one of the local French hang-outs watching the final and, getting back at around 5.30 this morning I remained convinced that I'm never going to get very excited about the game. The situation (give or take the country of allegiance) should have made a perfect atmosphere and indeed as the rain created rivers in the streets outside, the thunder rattled once more and the bar was packed close to bursting, there was much cheering from both the Italians and French in the room who seemed to be taking the rivalry in very friendly fashion. As 2 fast approached, we watched on the big screen as the room filled with several times more people than the regulations allowed. Just before 2 the police showed up, the TV was turned off and hackles were raised in what looked like a messy end to some fine upstanding police officers. Realising that they were outnumbered by about 200 to 1, they tactfully let the party go ahead and so, as I stood up for the next three hours watching the game, the room became filled with cheer and song, Italians swearing in French and vice versa.

I shan't mention the score, that would be going too far. A fun night but today I'm a little weary. Indeed had it just been one late night I may be feeling fine but the night before finished at 6 in the morning and was an absolutely perfect, if brief respite from the non-stop work which has been taking up all resources for the last two months.

The night before was Beijing's summer jam, though it was perhaps more coulis than compote as, at two in the morning the heavens opened once more and we became a soggy, if joyful bunch of dancers and frolickers.

Set an hour outside Beijing city in a countryside resort, usually set aside for such peaceful pursuits as tennis and fishing a la Centre Parcs, for one night only it was taken over by two music stages, several thousand revellers and a pool for those drunk enough not to mind the cold which has been with us for the last few days.

Well, there were some sights and some sounds, some peacockery and some casualties, many of which I shall spare your innocent eyes. However, I got a few pictures through the night to give a rough idea of what was a fantastic time of dancing, drinking and chatting with friends.

We arrived around 3 in the afternoon to a the sounds of smells of a humid forest setting and for the first time in far too long I sat and did nothing for a couple of hours. My friend Xavier sitting contemplating.

This guy was clearly a fan of Kundera and I had to take a photo of his tattoo. The translation is 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'

This was either a fine example of Chinglish or a very clever existential joke:

Food at this event was provided straight from the vine:

The hiphop stage and the pool:

Clearly an event like this is not complete without an old plane for partygoers to clamber around:

It's with mixed feelings that I admit that at one stage in the night I won an umbrella which, when the rains came, though my feet trudged through the streams, the rest of me remained relatively dry. Mother would be proud of her son, walking around being relatively sensible. The dichotomy lies in the fact that said umbrella was won in a beer drinking contest (speed not quantity I may add) and so perhaps any browny points I may have won through having an umbrella are instantly cancelled. This wasn't a planned event on my part, we happened to be walking past a tent advertising hair products, wondered in because we could see that there was something going on and a minute later we were surrounded by a group of onlookers watching us act like imbeciles. Fun nonetheless.

Here are some random snaps of partying people:

Anyway, five or so hours of dancing did much to refresh my mind and get the blood pumping again. Arriving home at six in the morning, saturated clothes were peeled and sleep descended quickly. At midday a knock at the door signaled that any chance of rest was over and so we headed to the local karaoke bar where I again managed to remove any merit a fair number of fine tunes may have possessed. Tatsuya, who's currently here working with me faired much better and gave many a fine rendition of some of the Japanese songs on the database.

Walking back we stopped off at a great Szechuan outdoor eatery where the Szechuan equivalent of kebabs were gobbled down by the hungry singers.

As we walked back we passed these kids playing around the local lanes (soon to be filled with tower blocks). Clearly to have your personal rickshaw driver is the height of luxury here.

and so we come full circle, after a couple of hours rest we headed off to the football and so the story begins, and ends.

Now, back at work I have an English lesson to plan and want to start writing up the work that we've been doing the last week. It's been one of the most intense but productive weeks for a long time and we've got some lovely results to study in more detail. More later...


Mr R Strawson said...

Er right - may I commend you on the destinct lack of physics in that blog

Jonathan Shock said...

I almost concur with your observation.


Paris Kundera said...

Excellent to hear some tales of late nights, festival-going and beer-drinking contests Biscuit. You must be one of the world's only raving physicists...

Jonathan Shock said...

You may have thought so but most of the physicists I know personally are generally up for a party, raving included.

See you shortly,


Benjamin said...

Looked like a lot of fun x

Jonathan Shock said...

Hi Ben,

Much fun indeed. I've been keeping up with you antics too and will e-mail soon.

All the best,


Christopher Pistol said...

You will be delighted to hear that Messrs Bailey and Baxter are hopefully being rounded up for the last week of July.
The only thing required from yourself is a drinking arm in good working order.

Jonathan Shock said...

Excellent news indeed,

I've been attempting to corrupt overseas PhD students and in the process the beer arm has been getting a little practice. More soon...