Day the Fifth – 22nd August


  • I arrive closer to 9am than 8.30 – which feels LATE – but I think all I’ve really missed is the early-morning natter, which isn’t even really over yet when I arrive.
  • Weather-adaptation is almost complete, although I don’t think I’ll be looking at long trousers for a while: it does feel cooler today with its 33ish degrees and wind, and an office temperature of 27 C is acceptable as opposed to still rather hot.
  • Hurrying to get paperwork out of the way. I have drawn up participant consent forms and photo permission forms. I am nearly done with my plan of action/people I want to talk to document for the next two months. Now I just need to translate it all into Mandarin.
  • I am due at the ZAST office for lunch today. It’s in a building topped with a big sign saying “TOTO” on top. I hope it’s not a predicament for the elevator-music within.
  • (Unless I am mistaken, TOTO is a bathroom company.)
  • Nagging at the back of my head, annoyingly, is an essay that the supervisors back in the UK are expecting by September. I know I can do it, but as expected, the more exciting things here take precedence.
  • Another nagging point, with more guilt on my part but no annoyance, is that my Dad has a colleague with a daughter – just slightly older than me – who works quite near town. We’ve been put in touch so that I can have a friend here, but with everything else that’s going on, I haven’t managed to contact them yet… to the degree that they’ve sent an email asking if everything is okay. Oh well, hopefully my new possession of a mobile phone will facilitate contact. After all, I haven’t done anything touristy yet!
  • After my little accident the other day, a fetching bruise has now developed on my knee. Yes, it is big enough not to go unnoticed. Ugh.
  • I am taken out to lunch by the ZAST International Relations Office occupants, alongside a German medic who has just arrived, and will be doing a four-month placement in one of the local hospitals. He’s staying in what I now dub the “medic flat” out of all ZAST accommodations.
  • Apparently we have both been put in touch with friends-of-friends before our arrival in Hangzhou (“HZ” from now on), so that we won’t be completely on our own in the city, which is thoughtful of our friends and family. That said, we trade phone numbers, and (I’m quite sure I speak for both) are happy to have made a non-work friend in the city, who is an actual human being already, and not a name with a phone number and email address.
  • The restaurant is called, in direct translation, “Old Man”, and the food is sooo good. If this had been a family event I may well have truly stuffed my face. As it was, I have a bit of everything… which, due to the number of dishes ordered, was pretty much enough anyway.
  • I do have an encounter with a fish bone that lodges itself in my gums and comes out all bloody, but I think I covered up the extraction procedure well enough to not put anyone off their lunch (until now! Mohaha.)
  • (Mature what?)
  • Over lunch I basically practice explaining my project multiple times in both Mandarin and English to all involved. I think they seemed satisfied with my phrasing? “A comparative study in how museums influence visitors’ perception of nuclear science in the UK and China, and how these reflect on the practices of public engagement of science in both countries… I want to talk to both museums and governmental staff on how the ‘expectation’ and ‘reality’ of these pub eng exercises influence their future work/policies”. Also stressing that I value the applicability of the outcome of my project, even though it’s heading towards thesis-ville as a presentation method.
  • Today’s cultural bit: I have a 户口 (hukou)! This is something some of the Chinese Studies students wrote about in their essays that I marked. It’s basically the Chinese way of earmarking all of the national residents.
  • A bit like sheep really, but you know, every country likes admin.
  • LMAO. I arrive back at the office and recount my lunchtime adventures. First reaction to the mention of my new friend – “is he handsome?” I think I will choose to be amused rather than annoyed that my new office buddies have already decided that I should have a mixed-race baby, after knowing each other for all of two days.
  • I keep a little eye on the Bo Xilai trial, and note that the microblog (weibo) account of Jinan Intermediate People’s Court has gained many many many followers over the course of the day. The true reflection of the technocracy?

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