Sunday, July 19, 2009


One question that was asked by one of my blogging friends (or more) was how come I went to China six times. So I thought maybe it would be fun to talk about why and how that came about. This picture (above) shows my husband and me on the Great Wall of China in 2003, when we went there the first time.

In my previous life (i.e., when I was working instead of being retired), I worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, and the whole three decades I was there, I worked for one person: Mickey Glantz, a Senior Scientist and Director of the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group.

I started as an administrative assistant (read: secretary) in 1979. In those days, before computers, Mickey would write a paper several times, take the output after it was typed up by the secretary, cut and paste and basically make a work of art out of his next draft, and the whole thing would be re-typed. It so happened when I took a version and actually read it while I was typing it and made constructive comments, Mickey immediately took notice and promoted me. Over the years, I moved from administrative assistant to administrator to webmaster to writer/editor. I assisted in numerous ways with the publication of dozens of books, and countless reports, papers, etc.

When Mickey's administrator retired in 1993, her position was split into her replacement, the administrator to deal with the budget and basically represent the group, while I took over the editing responsibilities and began to travel with Mickey. We would hold meetings all over the globe for scientists in various disciplines to help them "educate the educators" about climate change and variability. I had the responsibility to get the scientists and educators to that part of the world and organize the venue, arrange for accommodations, and basically put out any "fires" that arose from getting them to our meeting.
We went to China (twice to Beijing, once to Shanghai and Macau, and twice to Urumqi), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi), Moscow, Bangkok, Budapest, Havana, Geneva, and this past April to Macedonia. It has been a wonderful way to see the world, although the work did not end for me when we got there: I took notes in the meetings and helped Mickey prepare the final report. And the last few meetings we also put on the web. The picture above was taken of the terracotta soldiers in Xian, on a side trip back from western China to Beijing. If you ever get a chance to go to China, don't miss this trip.
The last day that we were in China, my husband and I had the only day in Beijing during the entire month we were there that was not inundated with heavy smog. It rained all day and we saw the sights. I took this picture in Bei Hai Park in Beijing. The next day it was clear and beautiful, and we flew away from the wonders of China for the last time. Maybe the last time.


  1. What a super job! I'd love to be able to travel the world.

  2. Sounds like a great job. Maybe next time you can just enjoy and not have to worry about dozens of details. Those soldiers are so interesting!

  3. Ooooooo, love that last green and lush.
    I can see why you loved going there.

  4. Hi DJan,

    How lucky you have gone to China...I always wish to see the Great Wall of China and oh've seen the terracotta soldiers? My ancestors are from China and I have plans of going there maybe early next year or if not in China, most likely Cambodia or Vietnam.

    I would love to travel to see different landmarks in different country but I made an oath that before I travel out of our country I would finish visiting all the lovely places here, but I think I would break my oath if our trip to Vietnam will push through.


  5. Awesome post, DJan. Now then, what were your deeper impressions of China, based on the areas you visited?

  6. Hi DJan,
    As you might have noticed, my post is titled 'Risky Recipes'. I never venture into the kitchen... These were those 2 days when did take a risk... Lols...
    Thanks for dropping by and Welcome to my blog.
    Do drop in often, I'd love your visits and comments.. :)

    Nice to know you've been to China 6 times... I've been there just once... My experiences there posted in my blog... My Travelogue - China Trip

  7. What an exciting job to take you all over the world. China is definitely on my to do list, maybe one of these days. The Great Wall and the terracotta soldiers would be among my first stops.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your travels.
    Have a great week,

  8. How wonderful! great job you had...but i know it is always hard to go sightseeing on an office trip.Your posts are really interesting.

  9. A job to covet, if ever there was one! I'm glad you had the chance to see so much of the world for such a worthwhile cause. It sounds like you enjoyed China. We all have a special place in the world that we would either like to go to or have been and enjoyed so much. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Next, the hippy community?
    Blessings, Star

  10. You've seen many wonderful places. Oh, and about my Ruins post. I think it dates from the mid 1600's

  11. Well, dear friends, that "great job" was also more work than 40 or 50 hours a week could handle. Getting 30 scientists from all over the world into one place with everything working right didn't always happen. I had a great deal of stress. Just sayin' it was tough sometimes.

    Linda, I've added to my list of "possible blog posts" one about my impressions of China.


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