Our puppet dinosaur, Winny the Muttaburrasaurus, is on a mission to the Beijing Museum of Natural History. Dino Operator and Visitor Events Co-ordinator David Bock reports from two other museums: the National Museum and the Beijing National Science Museum.
A morning stroll around our hutong sees the city streets coming to life: breakfast, veggie shopping, recycling, and dog walking. There seem to be a lot more dogs here now than my last visit. Maybe it's a result of the single child policy? Most of the dogs seemed to be owned by middle aged women.
Beijing also seems to have a lot less bikes these days and only one traffic jam. It just covers the whole city.
The weather is bright grey as we head of to the new National Museum. It's a vast building facing Tiananmen Square and designed in a contemporary brutalist style. The crowds queue up in their hundreds and sweat their way to the entrance.
After two x-rays of our bags, a metal detector scan and a pat down by a gang of sixteen-year-old explosive detectives dressed in black Ninja outfits we are in. The national collection includes jades, coins, paintings, bronzes, and a room of communist propaganda art.
I love the fact that each propaganda painting has one character with an arm raised with a bold 'Follow me into the breach' type of expression. I try it out but no one follows - I guess China has lost something.
Back into the grey doona of 'oxygen' and permanent peak hour, we stop for a dumpling lunch at the local dumpling chain. The Olympic buildings appear out of the gloom, and a very tall, skinny structure with a cup at the top, almost like a Giant golf tee, is visible just north of The Birds Nest stadium. What is it? I'll have to Google that one.
Next we make a flying visit to the Beijing National Science museum. Again the word 'vast' comes to mind. It's about five years old, built from the ground up with huge, modern, mind-blowing exhibition halls, and although we're rushed for time we do linger at the shop.
We can't get over the $500 robot dinosaur, but we settle on buying something I can only describe as 'glowing thumbs'.
Next we're on to our meeting with the Association for Science and technology and talk about science communication. Funny: I wonder why the automatic doors don't open there?
We meet a lovely bloke, and I hope even a quarter of our mutual great ideas for the future come off.
We go out for dinner and our host chooses 'hot pot'. Everyone has a boiling pot of soup in front of them and we drop different cuts of meats, mushrooms, and vegetables into the pot to cook.
We pick them out with chopsticks, add some sauce we make from about 9 different ingredients, and feast like an emperor. Or chairman, to be politically up to date. We roll out of there well-fed and smiling.