The Great Wall of China, one of the wonders of the ancient world—so we had learnt from elementary school. And in a few hours, I would be on it! I mulled on this for a moment. The movie—The Great Wall, starring a buff Brad Pitt and the very attractive Tian Jing passed through my mind. The various sections of the wall had been built over a long period of time, in fact many centuries, to keep marauding hordes from the north ravaging the empire, with mixed success. In some countries walls are being contemplated, even today, to prevent being overrun by so called “hordes”. It seems history keeps repeating itself. Why don’t we ever learn from it?
After concluding my business in Wenzhou I had planned to visit Beijing for a couple of days on my way back to the US. How could I miss an opportunity to see the Great Wall, one of the wonders of the ancient world and the Forbidden City immortalized in Bernado Bertolucci’s epic movie ‘The Last Emperor’! According to plan, I landed at Beijing’s vast, sprawling airport primed for an exciting trip.
The day dawned bright and clear, my last full day in China. I felt a little sad but there was no time to indulge in that feeling. I had a long meeting with the students scheduled and a talk to give. There was a little free time that morning and I used it productively to finalize my presentation and do a little packing. The car arrived and I headed off to Wenzhou University to join the others.
The 60th anniversary celebration of Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) was on October 28, 2018, a Sunday and a big shindig befitting the occasion was planned. I never let a party go to waste so decided to join the festivities and hoopla. “This is a fortunate coincidence, when will I get this chance again”, I thought to myself.
I woke up next morning feeling refreshed and ready for the first conference. I made a cup of coffee and looked out through my hotel window. It was a bright day.
I saw tall buildings, green trees and broad roads with orderly traffic. I was used to that sight in the USA. But there was a preponderance of scooters relatives to cars. This allows for less congestion, pollution and comparatively cheap transportation in a country of over a billion people, a sensible approach. After breakfast I headed downstairs for our first set of meetings.