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Published: September 10th 2014
Hongquiao Shanghai Railway Station
Madness at the train station on the way to Jinhua--zoom in on the other end of the hall and you can get an impression of the sheer volume of Chinese travellers.
HOT! DAMN HOT!! In my best Robin Williams 'Good Morning Vietnam' voice...that's how I'm responding to anyone who asks me "How are you, Mr. Jefferies?"
Not really, of course, that would be rude...however it IS damn hot: today, my first day back in the classroom, is 31-C 'feels like 45-C'; you may as well say '31-C, but feels like the surface of the sun'. Oh, and it's still and overcast...once in a while there will be a tantalising whisper of a breeze, but it's just an illusion to lull you into a sense of false 'non-sweating-ness' . Hopefully it will thunder tonight and provide a cooling downpour, but it doesn't take long to get back up to the 'tropical moist heat' temperature setting.
One of the best luggage inclusions I brought with me were two handkerchiefs which I use CONSTANTLY trying not to actually plop sweat globules onto unfortunate students. A bit embarrassing, really...so saying, however, the department store is already putting out racks of down jackets, so they must know something they think I don't...the reality is, of course, that in a month or so, I'll be moaning about how cold it is...and it will be.
City Rental Bike Program
This is one of the differences I noticed since I was here before--there are quite a few city bike rental locations around town. It looks like you use a prepaid swipe card, pick-up and drop-off at any other location. Cool...
day back was good, albeit sweaty; but I think I've established that, so enough said, other than Belinda, my T/A translator passed out from the heat and I felt compelled to cut the class short. She is OK, apparently; I hope to see her back on her feet soon. It was great to see the faculty and staff from last time: even the Dean came by to welcome me back. Apparently the foreign teachers have their own office now, which is good, I guess. I would rather hang out with the regular faculty in the vain hope I might pick up a bit of Chinese. Regardless, it is a nice thought that we might want some 'foreigner' time, where, presumably we can swear and say bad things without anyone else hearing us. I am on my own until mid-October, so it's a bit of a moot point, really.
My class introductions where interesting, as always, as students struggle to get over their shyness telling you what their 'English' names are. I have four sections of roughly 160 students total, so there is zero
chance of remembering their actual names, try as I might. Chinese students come up with interesting
'Reeboo Short Order' Fast Food Restaurant
This is the one I got most often: they are set up like a cafeteria--you take a tray, select your food and pay at the cash register. Fast, decent food, fresh and inexpensive.
names for themselves ranging from the mundane 'Sue' and 'Bob' to, I kid you not, 'Tomato'.
Here's how it went in the Intro session:
'Good Morning Mr. Jefferies. My name is Tomato.' 'Tomato? Really?'
'Yes! To-mato! Rhymes with PO-TARTO!!' laughs maniacally; as does the rest of the class...very funny...
I also have 'Blue', 'Wind', and 'Darth', who I REALLY have to keep an eye on...
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