Well, my plans to blog from the World Economic Forum (WEF) were thwarted by fact that my days in Tianjin were a mad dash of attending back-to-back panel discussions on topics such as food scarcity, resilience and alternative energy, punctuated with a WEF-sponsored tour of Eco-City, a development-in-progress which aims to be “A thriving city which is socially harmonious, environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient—a model for sustainable development.” At night, there were social functions that were billed as not-to-be missed, like Japanese Night at the Nikko Hotel, and the grand spectacle that is the Cultural Soiree, which we dutifully (and happily) attended. On the final night, T.J. and I managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing, since up until that point, all that we’d seen of Tianjin was from the windows of the shuttle buses that whisked us to and from our hotel and the convention center.
It was an exhilarating trip, one that certainly deserves at least a few blog entries of its own. I did write two posts on the flight home, only to find upon arriving stateside that my hard-drive had been wiped out, and that those entries were not recoverable. T.J. suspects that the Chinese government had something to do with my computer woes. While in the Meijang Convention Center, we were able to access websites forbidden to the Chinese people—like Google, the New York Times, Facebook, and Twitter—which goes to show just how much pull the WEF has with the powers that be there. I don’t doubt that our Internet activity was being closely monitored, but still, I’m having a hard time fathoming that I posted or researched anything so objectionable as to warrant my hard drive being erased. But maybe I’m naïve?
My two days at home were spent trying to recover data, loading up on enough snuggles with the kiddos to tide each of us over for another week apart, and preparing for the next adventure. Because of the tight turn-around time between trips, I’m afraid that I won’t be writing this blog in a strictly linear fashion, that I’ll instead be circling back to my experiences at the WEF after documenting the People’s Climate Train journey in real time.