Beijing 2016 – Euro Pacific Pre RoboCup Workshop

This post is written by Katie about the Pre Euro Pacific RoboCup workshop day after the World Robot Contest in Beijing.  She attended as part of UT Austin Villa along with Josiah and Josh.

We attended a Pre Euro Pacific RoboCup workshop on the last day. We gave a short 20 minute talk on our team and three recent research projects on our team. We also received trophies for our first place finishes in both the black and white ball and the orange ball competitions.

This was just the beginning of the food that would be served at this meal!

The organizers treated us to an impressive banquet lunch at the halal restaurant next to our hotel. I hate all of the food waste, but I understand that it is important for status to ensure that plenty of good is left over. I was successful at trying to always go lower on toasts at this meal.

The closing ceremony for the World Robot Conference was huge.
The ceremony opened with a woman dancing with, on, and from a Festo robot.
Looking back at the crowd as we queue to walk up on stage and accept our award.
There were many robots queued around the stage.  This one was a Starbucks robot.
Everything was in Mandarin, so we were somewhat lost during parts of the ceremony.
We could tell what contest would be awarded next by the short video and pictures shown before the presentation.
One of the contests seemed to be related to steering robotic fish.

After the banquet, we were taken back to the venue for the World Robotics Conference closing ceremony. Although the entire ceremony was in Chinese, there were some interesting performances and videos. We were given a certificate and our trophy (again!) at this ceremony. We also were asked to participate in a farewell dance with robots and children at the end of the ceremony. Needless to say, we all found it very strange and awkward.

Capsule room with private bathroom at Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel.
Josh was happy about his capsule room.
Hooks on the wall of my capsule room.
The mini bathroom in my capsule room.

After the ceremony we took all of our belongings and robots from the venue to Beijing Drum Tower Youth Hostel by metro. We each checked into a small mini-room with a bed, two night stands, and a small bathroom. My room reeked of smoke. I should have complained – but I knew from check-in there were no other rooms available. Instead, I just opened the little window and hoped it would be better when I returned.

Wangfujing Street in Beijing
My egg pancake dinner.  I think the dish on the left contained a soy dessert.

We headed for Tianamen Square, where we met up with UNSW and WrightOcean. Then we went to Wangfujing Gourmet Food Street for dinner. Wangfujing Gourmet Food Street was an underground good court where you put money on a card and then paid the vendors using the card. WrightOcean got a card, and kindly insisted on paying for all of our dinners. Most people got fried rice or skillet dishes, but I instead opted for a egg pancake. I have absolutely no regrets about my choice!

After dinner we walked down Wangfujing Night Food Street, which felt extremely touristy. However, since most people – including WrightOcean – had not been to Beijing before, most everyone seemed to enjoy it. UNSW convinced Josiah as well as a few people from WrightOcean to try fried scorpions – Josiah said it was disgusting mainly because it was completely just fried batter. We ended the night at a games arcade, playing DDR, basketball, and a game like Guitar Hero but with drums. It was a fun night.

Once back at the hostel, I sat with the extremely sweet hostel cat for a bit before showering and heading to sleep.  Unfortunately, my room and bedding still smelled of smoke.

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