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早安: zǎo ān (Good Morning)

After a great day off, including the tour of Nanjing, the group was ready to begin work Monday morning.
Michael started off the meeting with a recap of previous discussions as well as overall recommendations for progressing with SAFEGUARD-China creation. He then handed off the discussion to Allison who drew up images for a potential interface for the software. Finally, Justin ended the groups direction setting introduction providing a basic flow chart of SAFEGUARD framework and logic.

The entire group took it from there and added additional detail to the framework. The morning was one of the most productive yet and to celebrate the group went out to a fantastic lunch and tour around Nanjing University.

After lunch the group got back to work and made the decision to break into two groups. One group lead by Aaron and Allison moved forward with database creation for baselines. The other group lead by Gavin, Justin and Michael moved on with framework creation for strategies, scenarios and goals.

The entire team left satisfied with the days work, looking forward to more progress.

The night was filled with good times as "The 5" plus Lei Yue visited the lake in the middle of the city to find it was too late for paddle boats. This was followed by an adventurous bus journey out to the river. Near the river the gang experienced a large group of choreographed dancers and then a delicious meal.

Good good times in China!

Chinese Idols, Past and Present

Finally a day off! We have been super busy traveling, meeting people, and working. Today we had the opportunity to see some famous sights in Nanjing. Nanjing was the capital of China until 1949 when, following World War II, Beijing became the new capital. Today the Dean of the Nanjing University School of the Environment, Professor Bi, set us up with a driver and two enthusiastic and funny students, Lei Yue and Li Sisi, acted as our guides. The five of us, along with Craig from AECOM, visited the Zhongshan Mountain National Park (Purple Mountain), enjoyed our new favorite meal – hot pot – for lunch, and then checked out the Presidential Palace. While we didn’t understand everything we saw, we had a great time and even learned a little about Chinese history (disclaimer: any Chinese history recounted below is based on roughly-translated English on signs and what we picked up from our non-official guide-friends and, accordingly, may not be 100% accurate).

The morning got off to an 8am start, which was very early for the two that stayed up until 4:30am local time only to watch the U.S. be knocked out of the World Cup in overtime. We had our new favorite “breakfast burritos” from a street cart on the way to Craig’s hotel where we met the driver and our new friend and guide Li Sisi. The breakfast burrito is a scrambled egg, wrapped up in a tortilla with veggies, spices, and a “churro”. We Californians tend to equate everything to Mexican food.

Purple Mountain is an area that is about 20 square kilometers (big!) and has over 200 sites to see. We visited the mausoleum of Sun Yat-Sen, the “Father of the Nation”. Sun was a political leader who helped to overthrow Imperialistic China, creating the Republic of China in 1912. We climbed 392 stairs (representing the 392 million people living in China in 1912) for some fantastic but smoggy views. Allison and Justin were the subject of many Chinese pictures and Allison was even invited to stay at a woman’s house in a different city. Turns out, curly hair and red hair and beards are not the norm in China.

Another highlight was the Linggu Temple and Pagoda area. Built in 1929 as a memorial to soldiers killed in the War of Northern Expedition, The 9 story pagoda was amazing and the view from the top was worth the hundreds of spiraled stairs.

We took a break from the 90 degree heat to enjoy a hot pot lunch with our friends. Just as we cooled down from the outside heat, we started sweating again from the VERY spicy oil and sauces. After lunch, we walked around the corner to the Presidential Palace where we spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the buildings, gardens, water and rock features, and continued to enjoy celebrity status.

The presidential palace housed top officials from the Ming and Qing Dynasties during the Imperialistic period in China. After the revolution led by Sun Yat-Sen, he lived there as the Provisional President and the Imperialists moved to Taiwan. Google it if you’re interested in details. Then send us a summary so we know what we saw. We had a great time exploring to beautiful grounds and groups of buildings, constructed during different periods. We amused the Chinese tourists with our witty comments and hysterical poses. There are not many Westerners around Nanjing (we have seen about 6 others so far) so The Five was the subject of many looks, pictures, and awe. Allison was included in the most family pictures and Justin got a Fonzie-esque thumbs up for his red beard. Check out the pictures below.

For dinner, Lei Yue (our awesome guide, friend, protector, and Allison’s current roommate) took us out for her favorite meal of dumplings. She started psyching us up for it as we finished our enormous lunch and even went and checked out a restaurant and retrieved Craig from his hotel to make sure we all enjoyed it as much as she did. We left for the dumpling restaurant, by way of the Central Business District and stopped to see what kind of outdoors concert had been making loud noise all afternoon. By the sounds of it, it wasn’t a very good band playing. We stopped to watch what turned out to be a China Idol tryout and thought it would be fun to try out some American music. Lei Yue went to see if they had any English songs and quickly returned to tell us that they could in fact get any song because China doesn’t have copyright laws. We asked if they had the classic karaoke song Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Not only did they have it, but they told us we were up next! Allison, Gavin, and Michael were handed microphones and directed to the stage. Lei Yue came along as the translator while Aaron, Justin, and Craig stood by with cameras at the ready. They apologized for what turned out to be a blessing—there wasn’t a music-only edition and the lyrics would also be played. The trio did Journey the justice they deserve. The Chinese audience watched in (awed?) silence.

Unfortunately, the three-member panel was unable to give the group a score due to a lack of experience in judging American songs. One judge called Michael handsome before sending us back into the audience. As the trio approached the spectators, a lane cleared for the soon-to-be superstars. The performance may have been broadcast on TV, but the top 10 contestants won’t be chosen until the end of October.

We all celebrated over delicious dumplings, Craig took a cab back to his hotel, and the rest of us finished off the night with ice cream treats and dominoes, teaching Lei Yue how to play. Tomorrow we get back to work at 9am. After a brush with fame, it may be difficult to return to the daily grind of planning climate change mitigation.

China: Saturday

When you wake up at 6 am thinking it is 8 am you know you are off to the start of a great day (Thanks Gavin). The group got together around 7:30 am to grab breakfast snacks and take a walk through the local city park.

Walking in the park provided an amazing experience, during which we realized how much individualism is appreciated in China. All the locals in the park were truly doing their own thing—singing, dancing, tai chi, kung fu, and even some strange exercises we were previously unaware of. Here “The 5” experienced their first moments of being Chinese celebrities, as they were asked to tell children to stay off drugs for a local campaign.

After the fun at the park, it was off to meetings and work. While it took sometime to get settled into working conditions, all collaborators entertained lengthy conversations about baseline emissions and how the Chinese students might fit these calculations into the model. The real fun of the meeting came when discussion of optimization arose. The big question; “Should we optimize? And if so, using what?” While SAFEGUARD is meant to optimize strategies based on Cost($)/GHG they question of whether this was appropriate for China came up. The answer to the question was never determined, but it was decided that cost should necessarily be through out. Additionally, GDP and a “metric for ease of implementation” might be viable alternatives.

Following the wonderful discussion the entire group including advisors and Chinese students shared a wonderful meal, where it became very apparent that the Chinese believe that Americans eat way more than they do. After the meal “The 5” experienced their second chance at stardom as they were asked to be on Chinese television. Stoked at the prospects “The 5” could not turn down the opportunity and will be seen sometime in August on a Chinese channel near you.

The amazing day became night with a walk on a lake in the city, where locals could be seen dancing in unison and cruising around on boats adorned with bright red lights.

On a late night search for a supermarket, we saw an arcade. Aaron was mesmerized by the flashy lights; he darted across the street without paying any attention to the crazy drivers. As we walked inside, we were met with a teenage version of Las Vegas! There were so many games and lots of cigarette smoking. We played a racing game and a basketball game; I’m sure we will be visiting this place again soon!

“The 5” will sleep well tonight awaiting tomorrow's great adventure.

晚安 "Whan On" (Good night)

China: Friday

“The 5” finally met their Chinese counterparts for a great discussion session. The Dean of the Nanjing School of the Environment, Professor Bi, gave a wonderful introduction followed by the infamous presentation of our SAFEGUARD project. Wonderful discussion ensued, providing “the 5” with their most intense questions yet.

Lunch was a great cultural experience as we dove into hot pots, mountain potatoes, sticky rice, various soups and other delicious cuisine.

Following lunch, discussion continued and a barrier between cultures and languages came to the forefront of attention. Despite the obstacles a productive outcome was made leaving tomorrow’s work plan set. We will tackle the issue of data collection and baseline calculations for China communities.

Tonight we will enjoy the evening sites, food and drink with our new friends in an open-air market near the Confucius Temple.

您是不是要找 "Zai jian" (Good-bye)

China: Tuesday-Thursday

"Nǐ hǎo" (Hello)

After over 36 hours of travel the team arrived safely in Nanjing. The journey was filled with adventure and surprises—this is fluffy writing but actually true!

Along the way we stopped in Tokyo, Japan. Taking a break from sitting on airplanes, some of us enjoyed delicious sashimi while others marveled at the unique toilets in the restrooms. We landed in Shanghai to discover that we were too late to take the last train of the night; however with Ling and his girlfriend Elma as our trusty tour guides, we were well prepared for other arrangements. From 11:00pm to 5:50am, we wandered the streets of train-station-adjacent Shanghai, exploring unique sites and smells.

Allison, Gavin, Justin and Michael enjoyed a heated game of dominoes on the sidewalk in front of the train station while a crowd of Chinese onlookers gathered. The rest of the crew—Aaron, Craig, Ling and Elma—enjoyed some World Cup soccer in a nearby 24-hour McDonalds. The restaurant was packed, even at 3am (with sleeping people).

As the sun rose over Shanghai, the entire group met for an authentic Chinese breakfast of dumplings, churro-like fried dough, and an unidentified but delicious milky drink before boarding the train to Nanjing. The train ride was a grand experience filled with sleep, Chinese candy, and a very smooth train moving at speeds topping 218km/hr.

Once in Nanjing, a brief but exhilarating taxi ride and some walks around the city found us finally in our hotel, where the GP team of 5 were left alone to experience communications in China. “The 5” managed to mime their way to internet access, shower curtains and a delicious Chinese lunch.

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