WSC/WPC Impressions – October 13 (Sightseeing)

Despite not getting any sleep on the airplane, I still managed to wake up too early. I spent sometime doing puzzles and read over the instruction manual, then headed off to breakfast. Breakfast was strange, as they served hot milk, hot juice, and coffee, but no tea or water, much to the aggravation to some of the people there. The food was a mix of Beijing style food and “western” food, and was decent, though not outstanding. After breakfast, we headed off to our touring bus, from here on to be known as “Bus A”.

We first went to see the Mutianyu section of the great wall. After arriving at the base, we took some group photos for the organizers. The tour guide told us that there are 2 ways to get to the great wall, either by paying extra and taking the lift, or walking up a trail. What he did not told us was that the “trail” was ~1000 steps of stairs. Most of us eventually got up, though we felt half dead at that point. We then took some photos, and cracked jokes about how we should host the championship here with everyone finishing a puzzle having to walk up 100 steps to get to the desk containing the next one. We took some more photos then headed back down the stairs. Apparently, there was a toboggan ride down from the side which I have missed. That would have been extremely helpful for my legs at that point.

After lunch, we got back on Bus A to go to the Ming tombs. That did not worked out as the road going there was blocked by bicycle race. Instead, we went to see the Olympic Stadium. a.k.a. Bird’s Nest. As our tour guide had been shouting “Bus A” to gather our group the whole day, the Czech team, and latter our team, started shouting Bus A as well. At the Bird’s Nest, we went up more stairs to the balcony, and I even walked up to the top seat to take some pictures of the stadium. We also went to see the Water Cube stadium near by, after which we went back to the hotel for dinner and bed.

WSC/WPC Impressions – October 11-12 (To Beijing)

I got up early in the morning, and took the shuttle from Waterloo to Toronto airport, which took 1 1/2 hours. After checking in my luggage and clearing security, I met Dave and Anil in the waiting area, among with Will Shortz and some members of the US team. It turned out that our plane was delayed by an hour due to maintenance, though that was nothing compared to the 10 hour delay that Byron got. During the flight, I spent most of the time solving the example sudokus and puzzles in the instructions booklet. The remaining time I used to watch movies, which meant I got no sleep.

By the time we got to Beijing, it was already 6pm. Luckily for us, clearing customs was a breeze, unlike trying to get the Chinese visa. After meeting up with the organizers and the Indian team, we then took the Shuttle to the Beijing Chateau Laffitte Hotel. During the way, our driver took the wrong road, and we ended up at a construction site. By the time we ended up at the hotel, it was 7:40, and dinner ends at 8. We hurriedly ate, checked in, then went to bed.