Published: August 25th 2008August 25th 2008
Krispy Kreme at the Hong Kong airport; I couldn't resist!
Well, I made it to China and I have to say it's pretty freakin' awesome. Getting here was a bit hairy. After arriving in San Fransisco our flight to Hong Kong was delayed nearly twenty hours due to a typhoon. Fortunately I had met a couple of people from my group (Kris and David) and the three of us shared a hotel room. I was actually grateful for the break between my two flights. The flight to Hong Kong was long but uneventful. David was sitting in front of me and we made fun of the loud poker players sitting next to me for most of the flight. After arriving in Hong Kong we had to wait for a couple of hours for our buses. I got a doughnut and a coffee at Krispy Kreme that cost me $38 Hong Kong dollars. I keep choking at all the prices here and remind myself often of the exchange (which is about 7 yuan or 7 HK$ to 1 US dollar.
I had my computer out and was almost connected to the internet when our buses arrived. Our group had so much luggage that we all had to pitch in an extra
It costs what for two dozen doughnuts?!?
$10 for another bus to haul it. Hong Kong was really beautiful (from what I could see from the bus) and I can't wait to go back there after I get my multiple entry visa. It only took about 30 minutes to reach the border to China where we had to unload all of our superfluous luggage and go through customs again. It didn't take too long to go through. I was expecting an elaborate search, but all we had to do was run our bags through an x-ray machine and sign a form. The bus ride to Zhuhai (pronounced jew-high, credit goes to David for that) was about three hours and we all froze. Apparently the Chinese either really like their AC or they think we do. We finally arrived at the Seaview Hotel around 11pm Saturday night. It was weird that we left Friday morning and ended our journey Saturday night (accounting for the time difference). The hotel was kind enough to prepare dinner for us and it was fantastic. I had really Chinese Crispy Beef. Mom, you would have died and gone to heaven. :) Kris and I decided that since we had already slept together we
From left to right: Anna Ray, and my room mates from San Fransisco Kris and David.
might as well room at the hotel while in Zhuhai. And, by coincidence, David is in the room right across the hall, so I'm still hangin' with my SF roomies.
Classes started bright and early on Sunday morning. We were all dragging but kind of giddy at the fact that we're in China. Even now it seems too awesome that I'm sitting in an expat coffee house in Zhuhai. Since I've only had two days of classes I don't have too much to say about it yet. Learning Chinese so far has included repetitively pronouncing finals, initials, and the four tones. TEFL class has started on theory and different methods used for different age groups. I think I'm going to volunteer for primary school. I know they won't have as much English and might be harder to control, but lessons seem like they might be a lot more fun to plan. Plus, I hate teenagers. :)
Yesterday after classes a group of us headed into the city to do some shopping. There is a grocery store called Jusco that has just about everything, including Durian, turtle shells, Durian cookies, corn yoghurt, Durian ice cream, etc. I saw star
The bus ride from Hong Kong
fruit the size of footballs. David and I split from the group and went to Computer City. Then we discovered a really neat War memorial park. We climbed a mountain of stairs to a gigantic wall of stone carved in relief of various soldiers. After that park we crossed a bridge to another park on the sea. It was sometime after that when we decided we knew exactly where the hotel was in relation to our location and got totally lost trying to walk back to it. It wasn't my fault. I had already explained to him that I had no sense of direction, so I lay all the blame on him. :) After wandering for about two hours we found this cafe and I was able to finally check my email. I was so exhausted last night that I didn't even eat dinner. I just showered and collapsed into bed.
Oh, about the humidity: OMG! I thought I had experienced humidity before, but nothing compares to the oppressive uckiness that exists here. When I go outside my hair immediatley doubles in volume and not in a nice curly kind of way but more of a frizzy bad perm
Apparently, our hotel bathroom can be dangerous
kind of way. I haven't figured out the best product to weather ratio yet. When I was on my 'excursion' yesterday I sweat out about half my weight. At this rate of sweating to death and being too tired to eat, I'll be in pretty good shape in a few weeks. :) Other than the ungodly heat and moisture, Zhuhai is a pretty nice city. People really do stare a lot and take pictures, but it's not as weird as I though it would be. And if you stare back, they tend to look away. A little boy at our hotel was actually afraid of us and his mom had to practically carry him past us because he wouldn't walk. The buses are super easy to use and even though I can't read anything, it's pretty easy to get along in the stores.
Well, I'm all typed out. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss you!
There are more photos below