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October 14th 2017
Published: October 14th 2017
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World's saddest fridge...World's saddest fridge...World's saddest fridge...

My fridge...this is AFTER I had been shopping...
Fall is here finally. Today, Saturday, is in the low 20's C (just started to rain! Yippee!), which is still shorts and tees, but last night I found myself surreptitiously eyeing my sweatpants; managed to stave off the temptation, though. As soon as you slip those bad boys on, it's a slippery slope to admitting that you are snivelling weenie that can't handle a bit of a nip in the air.

Still, it does make for a much more conducive environment for "teaching", if that's what we're calling it these days. The students are a little more perky, but only marginally so. They just had the Fall National Holiday break, so theoretically they should be all energized and zippy. I'm still waiting for the zippy bit. The students are still scampering around in cut-off denims and skimpy tee-shirts, and that's just the boys. Pretty soon someone will appear in a puffy jacket, woolly hat, mittens and snow boots and that will be it for the rest of the semester.

Things are generally going well at school, and I've settled into a fairly consistent groove, most of the kids are respectful and seem to be engaged for at least some
Duck necks...Duck necks...Duck necks...

Yippee! Duck necks are back in stock...I think it will be a night in with Netflix.
of the time. I'm amazed that they can sit in a class room for 80 minutes at a time as the college seems to think they are still high-school kids (and I've got some big ones in my classes...) and are comfy squashed into those teeny hard little baby chairs and those little desks that have a cubby hole underneath where you used to hide your smokes before the break to sneak off for a drag behind the bike-sheds.

Big event for today: doing the laundry. Apparently, I'm one of the lucky ones that actually has a washer in the apartment. I was chatting to one of the strangely morose New Zealanders (I wonder why that is? Kiwis always seem a bit gloomy...) who told me she has to go to some kind of communal washer room in the dank bowels of the apartment block to do hers. The furniture (world's most uncomfortable chairs) is currently festooned with my trusty Mark's Work Warehouse boxers and socks.

Chinese homes tend not to have dryers (use too much energy), so washing hanging from the balconies of multi-million dollar apartments is quite normal. I hang mine up on the veranda careful
Kids on Diggers...Kids on Diggers...Kids on Diggers...

They start 'em young here...these are actual fully functional small-scale diggers with five-year old's moving half-yard or so of aggregate around...
not leave the window open too much as the cafeteria kitchen is directly below and my smalls will smell like fried garlic--not necessarily a bad thing, but...all in context, eh?

As the weather cools and the rains start, it will take an entire weekend for a washer load to dry, so a bit of laundry planning is a good thing. You may get the sense that I'm whining, but I know that I (we) get treated very well by the staff and faculty here--I'm sure they think we are all snowflakes. And in the words of Donald Trump, "They want everything done for them." Also, I know for a fact that the foreign teachers are paid a considerable magnitude more than the Chinese teachers and we are expected to do way less work, so I'm really not whining...

Part of this incredible treatment is the ingrained Chinese sense of hospitality, which goes way beyond offering a cup of tea and a biscuit. I learned some time ago not to jokingly say something is amiss or you 'need' something if you really don't and you're just having a 'larf'. For instance, last time I was here, someone asked me
Dumpling place...Dumpling place...Dumpling place...

Great little dumpling (wun-tun) restaurant--lovely owners. Standard order is 10 pieces, which is actually more than I can eat. The owner insists on giving me 13...including the beer: about $3.
how everything was in the apartment and I said "Great! My sheets are a bit linty, though", being the hilarious thigh-slapping wit that I am. The next day, the NEXT DAY, a brand new full set of bedding including a duvet and bed skirt thingy showed up at my apartment...

A few days ago I saw Jin Lu, who was my amazing fixer and minder in 2012 and 2014, but is on to other more important things, in the halls and I said let's go for lunch, meaning the campus cafeteria. ". "OK, Friday" he says. Sure enough he texts me and says he will pick me up and we will go to lunch, but not on campus. Ms. Tan is coming too. Great, Ms.Tan is the Vice Dean and has actual power. Good stuff. The brown spot on the end of my nose is twitching in anticipation of being thoroughly burnished.

We go to a very posh new restaurant just down from the College and have a great meal (picture included here) and I get some niggly school biz things that I wanted to get done in no time at all. Of course, I am not allowed
Posh RestaurantPosh RestaurantPosh Restaurant

The roast chicken dish comes trapped in the cage...not sure what the symbolism is here...
to pay or even contribute to the bill. Very Chinese. After a hair-raising drive (Jin is great, but his driving,,,?) back to the college to drop off Ms.Tan, Jin asked me if I was still having issues with my apartment WiFi, I said Yes, I am (which was actually true). He said something to Ms.Tan. She made a call. The technician was waiting at the apartment by the time I got home. Done.

A few days ago, I was at the Century Supermarket getting a few bits and pieces and when I came up to leave (Chines supermarkets are always in the basement: B1) the entrance way was choked with shoppers waiting for the rain to subside--it was howling a gale and torrential downpour going sideways. I thought well, I'll wait here for a bit but I'll just grab my trusty brolly (The umbrella is your friend: ancient Chinese proverb) and go when it dies down, The Chinese apparently don't like to get their hair wet as no-one was budging from the entrance-way. I thought 'bugger it' I'll just go. I went to leave (brolly hoisted) when a young Chinese chap came up to me and asked me which direction across the intersection I was going. I said it didn't really matter, but why? He said, I work across the road and can I hitch a ride with you under your umbrella? I said "Of course!" So we had a little chat and I gave him a lift out of the rain across the street to his office under my umbrella. Cool, huh?

Wacky tee-shirts:

"The burned bridges light the way."

"If I was a bird, I know who I would shit on." This worn by a very pregnant 20-something emblazoned on a full length maternity dress. Black of course. It was only about a 1,000-degrees out.


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Jinhua riverwalk...Jinhua riverwalk...
Jinhua riverwalk...

Nice walk along the river towards the 'other' side of the city. This days was very warm--hovering around 40-C but not so humid as earlier in the summer.


14th October 2017

Very entertaining Merv! Keep the updates coming.
15th October 2017

Thanks Cathy!
Glad you like them--feel free to pass the along to anyone you think might be interested!
14th October 2017

Armchair traveller
Thanks again for another entertaining and informative blog post.Cheers, Teresa.
15th October 2017

Thanks Teresa!
Glad you like them--feel free to pass the along to anyone you think might be interested!
15th October 2017

Hellooooo, from the hundred acre...
Hey Merv ! Thanks for the notes and for this blog. I also am a big fan of your style and of course your 'humour'! I will say however there may only be a few of us who remember the drawer under the seat of the desks. I couldn't hide my smokes in there cause I would never find them, it was such a catch all. Having said that , maybe more of us with that memory than the number of folks who might say "Yippeee" to Duck Necks!! Keep posting, stay wee and warm and lint free. Cheers
15th October 2017

Thanks Craig!
Glad you like the blog...100% true, I swear... Not sure I can get involved with the duck necks...you'd have to be quackers...
15th October 2017

Umbrella hitch-hiking
great stuff Merv, keep 'em coming!
15th October 2017

Smiling
Can't help but smile while reading your recent entries about laundry, wifi, restaurant, umbrella, etc. So glad that you are writing your experiences. You will long remember this unique time in China. Take care, Merv.
16th October 2017

Thanks Jean!
I'm glad you like the blogs--all true--I swear...:-)
15th October 2017

Too funny
I know that your blogs are always good for a laugh, which is great medicine. Thank Merv.
16th October 2017

Thanks Anne!
Yes--laughter really is the best medicine, even when you could be crying...:-)
16th October 2017

October 16th.
Hey Merv, thanks for that. I really enjoyed the read. David
17th October 2017

Thanks Dave!
Glad you enjoyed it--there are two earlier ones as well on this trip if you want to take a look. Hope all is well! Cheers Merv
24th October 2017

Great read. Love your writing.
Will send an email and get a better picture of how the teaching session is going. Say hello to Jin, Ms Tan, Belinda, Ms Guo and everyone.....
25th October 2017

Thanks Catherine!
Glad you enjoyed it--much appreciated. Sure, I'll say Hi for you--Ms. Guo just came back to work after mat leave this week--maybe next Monday proper? Cheers!

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