On the bus to Suzhou from the Shanghai airport, Jack and I started writing what is the fastest behavior ever written – it was created today (Sunday) and will play soccer by Wednesday (knock on wood). Even in 2006, our behavioral code was started at least 2 weeks before competition. It will certainly be an adventure!
Our trip to get here went about as smooth as can be expected. No one got any sleep before our 3:00am meet up time in the Lab, and the 45-min taxi ride in a Lincoln Navigator turned out not be as cramped as we expected, considering the enormous size of our robot cases.
In Portland, Jack and I managed to get away with paying only 80 dollars apiece for our overweight and oversize luggage that could have cost us upto $300 per leg. What a steal! (Mike and Todd had to pay $360, and they’re luggage didn’t even make it to Shanghai on the right flight!) Our 1hr layover in Atlanta turned out to be plently long enough to make it from C55 (where our flight arrived) all the way to the E concourse to catch our 777 to shanghai. Bowdoin RoboCup represented in row 50, while the rest of the plane was pretty empty. The 15hr flight turned out to be just as long as you’d expect a 15 hour flight to be – long enough to take several hour long naps, watch a movie or two, and read some of my book, and still have time to watch the plane inch slowly across the map view in the headrest in front of me.
Once we got to Shanghai, I tried to take money from an ATM, but it said my Bank refused the payment. Instead I found a pretty decent exchange rate right next to the luggage pickup where you pay a flat 59 RMB commission on the exchange – the rate was something like 6.75 RMB/dollar. Once we got our luggage, we were met by some local volunteers who helped us sort out our ATA Carnet, and get through customs. Mainly we had to wait a long time for them to process CMUs Carnet – they never even looked through our luggage, and approved our paperwork quickly. As should be expected with technology, neither of the two cellphones I brought worked when I turned them on. The Bowdoin one refused to acquire any service – maybe it doesn’t work on the 900Mhz band? The other one I managed to borrow from Dave probably needs to get some minutes charged into it – it says Emergency Use Only – at least it gets service!
Exiting from Customs in Terminal 1, we met the rest of the group, who had already been informed by another volunteer that we had another team member waiting in Terminal 2. One of them even helped guide us to the other terminal, which was a relief. In Terminal 2, we met up with Todd and Mike from UT Austin, whose robot’s unfortunately hadn’t made it on the same flight. After grabbing Tucker and Henry, we were again guided to the tour bus, which took about 3 hours or so, and finally dropped off at our hotel. A deluge of volunteers processed all the RoboCuppers on the Bus, and got us meal tickets and room keys. Tomorrow we will start breakfast at 6am, in time to be at the Venue for the 7am opening.