As many of you know, the reason for my visit to China is a research internship with Microsoft. “Microsoft Research” has 6 labs around the world: three in the US; one in Cambridge, UK; one in Bangalore, India; and the one I’m working at, known as “Microsoft Research Asia”, located in Beijing, China. These labs are set up to provide more of an academic environment then in Microsoft’s software development groups, focusing on innovative and longer-term projects. There are a several major research focuses at MSRA; you can read more here if you’re interested.

I landed in Beijing at around 2:30pm on a Thursday, so after retrieving my luggage and finding Success, we decided there was still time to check in at MSRA before they closed (the official hours are 9am-6pm, I believe). We took a taxi from the airport into the city proper. The trip took about 45 minutes, and we passed near the Olympic area. Here’s a picture I took of the Bird’s Nest, though it is partially obscured by trees:

Bird's Nest on the Way to My Apartment

I got to talk to Success for a while in the taxi. He is a journalist, and works in his group to maintain a news website. His company compiles news from other news sources. Pretty cool.

Other than accidently arriving at the wrong building, and then taking a second taxi, we arrived at MSRA without any trouble. After signing a bunch of papers committing my time, confidentiality, and soul to Microsoft, we walked over to my apartment to dump all my stuff (it’s about 3 mintues away). Here are some shots of the room:

My Room 1 My Room 2

Incidentally, I’ve started a small map showing important sites near  my apartment. I’ll be adding more points to it, as well as adding completely new maps, in the future.

Map of the known world. Or at least the important parts.

That’s about everything notable that happened on my way in to Beijing. Now that I’m finally here in my blog, I can begin posting about some of the places I’ve visited here, and the interesting/weird/weirder things I’ve seen. My computer should be back from repairs any day now, so there should be a flood of photos soon. And, of course, a more than adequate about of gibberish to accompany them.

But alas, examining the important question of the identity of zucchinis will have to wait until next time…