and took a nap (arrived around 4 pm Beijing time and napped until 8) and then went to the welcome reception. I chatted there with Adrian Towse (current ISPOR president from UK) and Jalpa Doshi (from UPenn) and enjoyed the entertainment which was brief performances by the China Beijing Opera.
I then went back to sleep and got up early, did some core work in the hotel room and then got ready for the short course. The course seemed to go very well. People were fairly engaged and asked questions and at the end, we were able to have a good group discussion. My co-instructor, Libo Tao is a health economics PhD who works with Becton Dickinson in Beijing. He was able to provide some very interesting insights on the Chinese health market and market access, but also on the view toward urbanization, economic growth and public health in China. Thing that surprised me #3 - there was only coffee and premade Lipton tea at the meeting, no other kinds of tea, no decaff coffee and no food on short course day. Food otherwise was not very good, nor plentiful and at the receptions, there was only canned soda, bottled water, orange juice, bad red wine and not very good beer (in small tumblers). During the lunch break, I went over to Olympic Park and checked out the stadium and some of the exhibits.
I then attended the first Plenary session at ISPOR. After that, I headed downtown to the Forbidden Palace, which was interesting, but not really my kind of place.
I found Tianamen Square much more interesting. I was not surprised that there was no mention whatsoever of the 1989 events, although apparently, in Beijing leading up to the 25th anniversary, there were peaceful protests. I was particularly impressed by the trees and park like setting of Tianamen Square.
I walked around outside a bit before heading back to ISPOR for the evening podiums, posters and reception and then early to bed. Thing that surprised me #4 - the car distribution is much more American than European. Cars are mostly midsized with plenty of minivans and SUVs (compact and mid size for the most part). The taxis are all Hyundai's which wasn't so surprising, but the number of Volkswagons was. There were plenty of Nissans and Hondas, but also very plentiful Audis, Mercedes, Fords and Buicks. There were fewer BMWs than other German cars. I saw no cars by Great Wall or Geely. I did see a couple by FAW and one Merek Mobil (Indonesia). I also saw a few Bentleys (I think they build for the Chinese market specifically). Thing that surprised me #5 - very few dogs. I saw only 3 or 4 stray dogs and less than 10 on leashes with people in all of my walking about. This may have been due to a recent rabies incident. The nearly 5,000 dogs that were killed were in Baoshan though, not Beijing.
Monday morning, I got up early (earlier than planned as my wake-up call came at 4 am, not the requested 6 am). So I did a couple hours of work, then headed off to the Great Wall. I went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, slightly less popular than the Badaling section, but apparently greener and less crowded. There were definitely people, but it wasn't too crowded. After a breakfast of yummy dumplings in the park, I walked up to watch tower 6 and then walked from Tower 6 to Tower 23. I believe it is about 3 miles round trip, but almost all either up or down. It was very awe inspiring and a perfect morning, cool and sunny.
I got back to town for the education symposium and workshops at ISPOR then took the subway back to the airport. The subway was not surprising. Apparently, subways are much the same everywhere and I had no trouble getting around, despite 2 transfers from the Olympic Park station to the airport.
The flight from Beijing to Dulles was long, but uneventful. A chance to do some more work and watch a couple of movies. I decided to just stay awake as I would get home at night and then just sleep to get back on time zone track. Upon arriving in DC, clearing customs and immigration was all easy, but my flight was delayed two hours. The downside - I was going to end up awake for a long time. The upside - I got to watch most of both games of the Monday Night Football doubleheader. The Detroit win was most excellent and the San Diego-Arizona game was an excellent match-up. I also tried a new cider, the Virgina made Bold Rock Apple Cider. I got home around 1:45 and went straight to bed. I managed to get up at 6:30 in time to head to work to teach my 8:30 class and actually was functional through the day. I slept for 11 hours last night and now feel ready to be back on track and on ESTime.