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Published: August 11th 2005
This is Daphne's bling that she received from a student. This is the Chinese equivalent of a dentist ring.
I haven't written in a few days, so here's the 411 (ahaha).
Saturday night I went to a Korean restaurant called Tudali with Daphne. We had all kinds of food, including "crushed apple juice" which is a thick pretty much tasteless nectar with apple shrapnel floating that sits on the bottom. Not my favourite drink, let me just say. I had some egg and noodle soup, which was great, and we ordered a spicy bean and peanut dish that wasn't bad until I decided I could eat a huge chili pepper. It wasn't bad at first, but then I just felt my face turn red, and even redder... Daphne says she wishes she had a video camera. I eventually choked out that I needed water and drank about 4 glasses... the rest of the food after that wasn't very enjoyable because my mouth was on FIRE. When we got home from, there were a few young girls who live in the same complex who stopped us to say hello. We've come to call them "the visitors" and they visit e-v-e-r-y night. And they won't stop ringing the doorbell or knocking until you answer. Last night they rang for 10 minutes,
These are our visitors. Every night.
and then Duncan came over so we HAD to open the door and they rang for another 10 before we told them that we just weren't feeling up to having visitors.
On Sunday, I worked three hours in the morning and met Duncan and Daphne at the school at 12:30. We took a taxi to Walmart, which is 4 stories high... the first floor isn't actually Walmart, it's the largest cell-phone supermarket I have ever seen. You see, everyone in China has a bloody cell phone. And there are a LOT of people in China, hence the reason for so many cell phones. We went to a cool little place called the Spring Cafe, a lounge-type restaurant with comfortable chairs and a mellow atmosphere. I had some pasta (very exciting!) and had an interesting experience with a squat (toilet) that wouldn't flush. Ahem. After lunch we went up to Walmart so I could find a foot pummace (yey luxury items!) and then we perused the food area and I took some pictures to show you some of the strange things they have here. The equivalent to the Canadian "bulk food" section is perhaps one of the most bizarre things
This is my class of usually three students. The little guy in the yellow is "man"!!!
I have seen here... they have all sorts of dried fish, and animals, strange cartilage-looking creatures... vegetables.. something that looks like toenails... and it doesn't smell too pleasant. We then walked down the main road, just packed with vendors and stalls selling everything you can imagine. We ended up at the DVD place. There is pretty much a hole in the wall, and you walk up two flights of steep steel stairs before you get into a narrow hallway with many rooms. Pick a room and sit down, and right into your lap, you are brought boxes and boxes of bootlegged DVDs to peruse. We spent about an hour in there, and I bought 10 DVDs for $11 Canadian. Hahaha. I think that I might be coming home with a few... and they might help me keep my sanity while I am here. Movie night, every night!!!
Monday was my day off and I planned to go to Thousand Buddah but it was raining so I slept in. Glorious, glorious sleep! I slept until 10:30, then got up, watched a movie and went to the school until everyone got off work. We all went to UBC at 430, then
Daphne and I took a bus to the RT Mart to buy groceries. We caught two wrong busses (they're doing construction so all of the routes have been changed, but it's hard to know when everything is in Chinese) and eventually took a taxi home. Daphne dyed my hair dark brown (I was just sick of the red), we drank bacardis, ate ice cream and peanut butter oreos, and watched Million Dollar Baby. Girls' Night!
On Tuesday, the little sweetheart from my "Food" class brought me a picture that she drew.. and I think I might frame it, it's just so cute. I got my contract signed with Richard and Jenny... then went over to Duncan's after work to chat for a while. Went home, the "visitors" stopped by to show us off to their other friends, and then I went to bed.
Yesterday, I taught the Ele's all day (the Elementary class is about a grade 2 level of English, and they're anywhere age 15-20something) which is mentally exhausting. Nice thing was, I got to take them on a field trip in the afternoon! So the 14 of us met at 1:30, and took bus 70 to
This is my Elementary class, on our field trip to Quan Cheng Square.
a stop near Quan Cheng Square. They took me to see a few of the springs which are all along a canal. I saw all kinds of things, and the walk really was beautiful. I think I'll go again and get my portrait drawn by a guy who charges 3 RMB... (50 cents). We came upon one of the more famous springs and all took a drink! Drinking the water is supposed to give you a long and prosperous life, as the water has been flowing for so many years. We ended up at Quan Cheng Square, which is the center of the city. There is a huge metal lotus sculpture in the center of the square and at night, there is a light and water show, with music playing, and the square fills with vendors and performers. I'd really like to go down at night. Our group split up, the guys went to play computer games and the girls went shopping. We spent most of out time in the supermarket, with me rambling off English names for everything. One thing that I am quite horrified about but will admit to is that yesterday I set a new McDonald's Record.
Daphne and I went for breakfast, for lunch, and after school. Trust me, I will never do that again. Ever.
Some other interesting things:
The last number of my cell phone number is 4. Chinese will pay for a special number that doesn't have the umber 4 in it, because 4 in Chinese is pronounced similarly to the word for "death". But I got my number for free. It could have been 444-4444 and I'd be cool with it.
Riding in a taxi here is like a half-an-hour ride at the amusement park. They swerve everywhere, they speed (when they can), they HONK (some more than others) and they cut everyone off. It's frightening but it's exhilarating.. when you aren't worried about dying.
I'm sick. I have a permanent headache, a stuffy nose, plugged ears, and I've been sneezing for the last 2 days. It's the Jinan air. Everyone gets sick until you get used to it. David smokes and says the air he breathes is cleaner, because at least he's breathing through a filter.
I have a bug bite on my arm the size of a loonie.
Duncan is leaving next Tuesday (he's
Ever lasting life?
Here I am taking a drink of the spring water.. hoping for everlasting life and not diarreah.
counting down the days and hours!) and Daphne got a job in a city further South (just outside of Hong Kong) so she is leaving by August 25th. Winter will be lonely, but now that I know where to buy DVDs, maybe I'll survive.
155 days until I'm done teaching.. and I'll be home before my birthday!
Xes and Oes,
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