Wednesday, September 5, 2012

At work

Beijing, ni hao!

I am back in China's Northern Capital (Bei=north, Jing=capital). Back in the land of dumplings and chopsticks, the land of a billion people with black hair, and the land of middle-age guys who in summer pull their T-shirts up above their bellies. Yeah, I am back!.

I know it has been just a little bit quiet on the blogging front, but that was because I was very busy reconnecting with Dutch culture all summer. I sampled all the new drink yoghurt flavors, took Simon and Thomas to eat some kroketten, and tested if stores now finally are able to accept international credit cards (the answer is, no). And of course I had to watch "our Epke" win his gold medal.

But now I am back, and even back at work.

I haven't talked much about work in this blog, mostly to not put you to sleep immediately (did it work?). Since May, I've been visiting the Institute of Remote Sensing Application, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to work as an English editor. The work is excellent, and I am not just saying that because the Chinese government might be reading my blog every night.

I am sure you are all dying to know what this place looks like, so come with me:

This is the main entrance of the institute. It's located in the Beijing Science and Technology park, right next to the Beijing Olympic Park. (In 2008, Epke was also there -- at the Olympics I mean.)

The building next to it, on the left, is "my building." As an unofficial visitor I don't even have a card, but a friendly door man let's me in when I come.

Inside it's work, work, work. I edit like a maniac. I really do!

When the editing slows down, I cheer myself up with a Nescafe. (No coffee machines in sight.) I also drink enormous amounts of Chinese tea.

For hot water, we use this water boiler. If you've ever been in China you'll recognize them because they seem to be everywhere. Boiling hot water for your coffee, tea, or noodle soup.

And next to the water boiler is this handy contraption. OK, it's not the most tasteful picture, I know, but with everyone drinking tea, you need a tea-leaf-collector-bucket. And that is it's official name.

Roughly at 11:09am, I walk across the street to this cafetaria. If you know me from work before, you might be stunned to know I can eat lunch this early. Lunch time is from 11am to 1pm and I found out the hard way that going at 12:46pm for lunch does not get you the best food in the house.

This is the cafetaria inside.

On the way to the food.  The photo is blurred, but that is because it is a hectic place. You can pick from many different kinds of vegetables and other dishes, and combine them with a bowl of rice.

And this is my lunch. In fact, this is my favourite lunch here. It's some cold noodle with (what appears to be) a sesame dressing, cucumbers, and spicy speckles. The white rolls on the side are also excellent. Well, actually, the rolls are boring and tasteless, dip them into the red spicy sauce. The doughyness soaks up the spice and the result is  absolutely delicious.


This is on the way back to my building. (The careful observer might notice this picture was taken on another day (pollution index 250) than the blue-sky image above (pollution index 19, acceptable even by European and U.S. standards).

Wasn't this a great tour? I know, you all want to be here. Stay tuned for more updates from your fine reporter on the ground. There might just be another one this year.

In het Nederlands: Na een superleuke (en drukke) vakantie in Nederland is het echte leven weer begonnen. In deze blogpost staan wat fotootjes van een nieuwe werkplek bij het Chinees instituut voor remote sensing application. Ik werk als een editor, wat betekent dat ik help met het schrijven (in het Engels) van hun wetenschappelijke artikelen. Het is leuk werk, en dat niet alleen vanwege de lekkere noedels in de bedrijfskantine.



  1. Lunch looks good. The water boiler contraption is amazing!! Do you and your coworkers have chats around the water boiler?

  2. Yes! We have amazing conversations in Chinese.

    -- did you believe that? Maybe for one second? No, actually everyone speaks English with me, and not around the water boiler. I suppose it is literally the opposite of the water cooler! :)