This trip wasn’t supposed to have started until January 2011. In the course of communications with the Aston English School I was offered a position starting mid October… this was the end of September.
I had the option of two locations that Aston has. I chose Yuncheng. Yuncheng is in the south west part of Shanxi province. It is known as coal country. The city is a small one in comparison to most in China.
My trip began on October 12th. I flew from LAX to Tokyo, from Tokyo to Seoul, from Seoul to Beijing, from Beijing to Xi’an. From Xi’an I took a bus to Yuncheng. I arrived to my apartment October 15th. I was EXHAUSTED! But, no rest for the wicked, I started working Saturday the 16th.
My apartment is two bedrooms and an office. It’s shabby and rundown and looks like it’s in the ghetto. It’s on the fifth floor, with no elevator. That’s nine flights of stairs. The floors are all tiled as are the walls in the bathroom and kitchen. The bathroom is a typical Chinese bathroom with no separate shower stall, only a shower head between the toilet (a western style toilet
thankfully) and the cleaning supplies. I have a small washer that “dries” also… meaning I have to hang dry everything.
The street that I live on is full of wonderful street vendors with foods that when I work up the nerve to try… I’m sure will be delicious. Actually, I’ve tried a few of the street foods, and they are tasty. Like Mexican street tacos, just gotta have the balls to try. When I go out with the teachers I work with, I let them order the food. Such a good idea! I’ve already tried things I hadn’t ever tried. I ate “lian cai” or lotus root; very yummy.
So far I’ve found that there are two public squares just a few blocks from here. The downtown area is a bustling commerce center. Hundreds of shops crowd the streets; clothing stores, accessories, electronics.
There are odd differences in the stores here. Aside from everything being in Chinese, there are things here that are ridiculously expensive (relatively), lotion, chocolate, shampoo and conditioner. There are some things that I can’t even get here; tampons, peanut butter, and lunch meat.
Everywhere I go, I walk. Everywhere I walk, I
get stared at! There aren’t many foreigners in Yuncheng.
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