Autumn Occurances (Part 1 of 3: Shanghai Nights)

Heeeeyyy.   Long time no talk!  Ha.  ha.  How bout them Padres?  Oh, they choked in the end, you say?  Hmm.  Well, football season’s started, and I know the Chargers and Bears are probably rolling at this point! . . . you don’t say?  Haha, no seriously, who beat them?  And when you say the “Rams,”  do you mean a team of actual rams playing football, cause there’s no way they’d lose to the St. Louis Rams.  Ahh.  That bad, eh?

Well this is awkward!  Look, I’m sorry I haven’t called in a while, it’s just I’ve been busy with all that . . . stuff.  Like, watching TV online.  And going out to bars.  Oh, and all the teaching of course.  That too.  Moving on then . . .

Seriously though, it has been a long time, and I know you’ve all been dying to hear about my latest exploits.  And, to be honest, they actually are pretty crazy.  For that reason, I’ve decided that what started out as simply a reaaaally long post is now going to become three separate posts, spread out over the next few days.  In these posts, will be included;  the trip to Shanghai, the trip to Xi’an on National Day (basically their Fourth of July, but they celebrate all friggen week, cause that’s just how they roll over here), and the last few weeks which include being shown where to find the good prostitutes!  So let’s delve right into part one, in which Matt and I took advantage of a 3 day weekend to visit Shanghai.

Shanghai in the mist.

By high-speed train, Shanghai is a mere 45 min to an hour away, and tickets cost $8 on average.  And by high-speed, I mean high-speed.  The train told us at one point it was going 324 km/hour, which = 201 mph, which is melt-your-face fast.  Plus, the train seats were amazingly comfortable, so before we knew it we found ourselves in Shanghai!

Shanghai is just so foreign! Btw, Howard Johnson's are crazy huge and fancy over here.

After a few moments of confusion, we managed to find my friend Adam’s dorm.  (Thanks again buddy for letting us crash there for a couple nights!)  Knowing we had a big day of touring Shanghai in the morning, and that Adam and his friends had class the next day, we proceeded to settle in and go to sleep.

Come on, you know me better than that.

The first thing we did was grab a couple beers, obviously.  Then, we went to the closest street market and bought some food which I’m confident would never pass FDA regulations.  But, it tastes amazing, so who cares!  We followed this up with stocking up on some more beer before heading out to a club that every one of Adam’s friends swore by, but to which he (and the rest of the people who came with us) had never been to before.  One taxi ride later, and we found ourselves outside the entrance and ready to roll.

Sidenote:  Cabs in China are way better, because you’re allowed to have open containers of alcohol and can actively drink.

Finally, we were in the club.  I can say right now, without a doubt, that this was the most amazing incredible club ever.  Oh wait, I mean it was terrible.  Well, terrible unless you’re German/Eastern European.  You know in movies/TV shows you see those German clubs were the lights are really low, drinks really expensive, and they play really loud, yet really slow electro music that is, as far as I can tell, just one track played on repeat all night?  Well imagine one of those clubs, then increase it’s Stereotypical-ness by about 100 fold and you might have an idea of what this place was like.  My favorite part was all the middle-age European guys (and a couple creepy looking girls) moving their bodies just a little bit left and right now and then, arms locked at a solid 60 degree angle holding beers, who would randomly cheer during the music saying “THIS SONG GREATEST!”

The Dungeon of Doom!!

After very little convincing, our party decided to conduct a full retreat, and we headed back to Adam’s room, after another beer stop of course.  Then after a few drinks, we realized it was getting late and that we all needed to do things tomorrow, and so went to bed.

Haha, good one.

Instead, we bought the largest paper cups we could find (which were the size of those little cups you get mouthwash in at the dentist) and played an epic (read:  unbearably long cause the table was too short and the cups impossibly small) game of beer pong, which of course Matt and myself won.  We followed this up with a rousing game of Kings, after which we determined that we had each (6 of us) consumed four 24 oz bottles of beer.  Hooray for beer that costs less than a dollar!

Finally around 5 or so we all managed to pick ourselves up and quickly pass out.  The next morning we awoke around noon ready to take on the day!  (Keep in mind at this point we still have the entire weekend ahead of us).  By 2 we were on the subway into the city, and taking the advice of Adam, began our day in People’s Square, followed by a trip to the Shanghai museum, a walk down Nanjing Road, and ending at the Bund:

Picture from People's Square in the middle of Shanghai

People's Square, looking at the theater building.

The Shanghai Museum

Jade carving. Nothing special, I could do that in an hour max.

A man stepping on a baby. 'Cause screw that baby, he'd had enough of it's shenanigans.

Nanjing road and it's wonderful view of Wayne Tower.

Nanjing road, but this time at night!

From the Bund, we actually planned on continuing our trip to a park/temple in the city which is apparently beautiful.  But, then we got sidetracked.

Before I continue, let me explain an aspect of China that travelers who have been around the world will be familiar with.  If you’ve never really traveled, but plan on doing so in the future (especially to China) then heed the advice of this paragraph.  Obviously in China, as in other parts of the world, there’s always people trying to sell their goods.  One of the biggest problems in China however, is the so-called “Tea ceremony.”  Basically what happens is an unsuspecting tourist(s) will meet a person offering them the chance to experience an “authentic” Chinese tea ceremony, invite them into the tea house, and proceed to . . . well, give them tea actually.  The problem isn’t that you don’t get what you’re expecting, it’s that you end up drinking a small cup of lightly flavored hot water for about the equivalent of $500.  And once you’ve had you’re “tea ceremony,” the tea house will often bring out the muscle to make sure you pay up (cause, technically, you did partake in their goods).  Basically, the key thing to remember is just to stay-on your toes when you travel, only trust reputable companies etc. when doing tourist stuff and generally don’t be stupid.

Ok, now I bet you can guess what happened next in Shanghai.  I’d like to first say that the girls who tricked us used a really clever ruse.  They were four cute girls.

Matt and I were taking some good pictures of the bund . . .

. . . when one of these girls, who was taking pictures as well, asked me if I could take a picture of them.  I did (since I’m a nice guy), then asked them if they could take a picture of Matt and myself, to which they obliged.  We then chatted/flirted a little, like you do, and Matt and I decided to continue our walk.  To this, the girls said “Oh hey, we’re just walking around too, want to join us?  We could tour together!”  Now, who’d say no to that?  Certainly not two early-mid 20 year old single guys, that’s for damn sure.

And certainly not this guy.

So after about 20 mins walking in the rain (we got soaked by the way), I noticed through all the flirting that the girls were leading us in an oddly specific way for “just touring.”  Despite the fact that one of them was excellent at English and my Chinese has improved since I’ve been here, whenever I broached this topic they never understood what the hell I was going on about.  “Oh sorry, my english not so good, I don’t understand!  But to return to the previous conversation, I agree, the rapid industrialization of Modern China has really created a cultural clash that I think most Chinese are ignorant of, despite being surround by Shanghai, a city with perfectly symbolizes this juxtaposition.”  Needless to say, I grew suspicious.  But still, my naive young heart held out hope all the way to the moment we walked into the sketchy tea shop.  Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the laughter of all you readers, we both realized our peril and used our innate abilities of looking confused and pointing at our watches while slowly backing out the door (all men can do this) to escape the trap.  Another couple hours later (after grabbing some much needed food) we were back at Adam’s.  This time, we managed to hold the drinking to only a couple bottles each, knowing that we had to get up early to head to the World Expo!

The China Pavilion.

The next morning, we woke up early, bid Adam a fond farewell, and headed out, ready for a solid day touring the rest of the World.  By 9:30 am we found ourselves inside the park (and this place is surprisingly large.  Like larger than disneyland!  But with better animatronics).

Yes, that is Bruce Lee. It may seem like a statue with multiple legs to look like he's kicking really fast, but that's actually Bruce Lee. And he's actually kicking that fast. And he looks red because he's angry. Oh, so very angry.

And this is Bruce (who is approximately 12 feet tall, btw, not including high-kicking height), with his army. His army of clones. Yes, an army of angry Bruce Lees is headed your way. Worship your new overlord.

Now, before I render my judgement, I will take you on another picture journey through the World (Expo).

The walk to the main area.

They've finally come back for me . . .

Of course the big, pink monstrosity with pointy devil ears is Japan's building

The opening room to Future City, which was pretty cool (Read: had no line).

A cool room showing possible cities of the future (that screen is about 50 feet tall, with a mirror next to it so it looks 50 feet wide).

Ohhh, pretty.

Inside the China Pavilion (each province had it's own area).

Yes, that would be the Chinese history major who's spent years of his life learning the cultural subtleties of one of the oldest surviving civilizations, looking like a slightly racist tourist.

Cool Chinese-looking stuff.

The U.K. Pavilion. No words can quite describe it like my English roommate Matt did. "It looks like a giant, hairy testicle."

Inside the U.K. testicle . . . I mean pavilion. And as you can see, those are all the different plant seeds native to the U.K. Exciting!

A cool shot of Cameroon's display, within the African area.

Me with the Jamaican Bobsled team . . . errr . . . I mean the South African soccer team. I think?

That probably looks pretty good because, lets be honest, my photo-taking skillz are phenomenal.  But honestly, the place was underwhelming.  We were there on a work day, normal week, when it was supposed to rain, and the lines were still around 2 hours long for the mediocre places.  The ones everyone wanted to go to were upwards of 5 hours.  And unlike disneyland, or a rollercoaster park, where you wait two hours for a (hopefully) massive adrenaline rush, once inside a building it was mostly just a tiny museum explaining the basic facts of the country of which I could’ve read on Wikipedia.  The U.K. for example (the “giant, hairy testicle”) had a four hour line.  Luckily, Matt’s a British citizen, so he just showed them his passport and he got right through.  And luckily, I’m white so they let me in too! (No, seriously, that’s exactly how it worked).  But, what those people were waiting four hours to see was a grey, hilly, cardboard area and a small walking part discussing the botanical history of England.  I wish I was joking about that, but I’m not.  Matt almost cried with joy.

To top it all off, I got to the USA one, and the douche’s wouldn’t let me in!  I was like “hey, I’m a U.S. citizen, here’s my passport.”  But the guy (an American, btw) said “oh, ya, we don’t do that.  You’ll have to wait in line.”  Well, and you might want to excuse from the room any children reading this for the next part, but FUCK YOU!  I’m a U.S. citizen and you won’t let me see my own country?! 22 years of letting my parents pay taxes for me earns me NO benefits?  Not even like a, “but hey, here’s a free lapel pin!”  NOTHING?!  Is it sad that I’ve honestly considered writing President Obama about this monstrous desecration of American liberties?  Hell, the Brits let me in cause I look like one!  Fuck it, I’m moving to England.

United States of America. More like, Ultimate . . . Stupid . . . Assholes! I'll take a giant, hairy testicle any day! **sob**

Annnyways, over all the park was alright, and worth seeing, but not as awesome as I’d hoped or heard about.  Basically, a solid “meh.”  I’d imagine if you timed it better, got up earlier, and were willing to spend a few days there, it’d probably be better.

Around 5:30 Matt and I decided we’d had enough of the World, and found our way back to the train station, and finally back home to Wuxi.

The following week was fairly uneventful, though a short one, since we got the weekend off again in celebration of National Day (all told we had four days off).  The two of us packed up our stuff, and on Friday evening boarded a train destined for Xi’an.  But will our two heroes make it there in time?!  Will National Day really be as epic as a four day weekend in a foreign country should be?!  WILL BATMAN FIND A WAY TO GET RID OF THE BOMB, EVEN THOUGH SOME DAYS YOU JUST CAN’T GET RID OF ONE?!  Find out on Part two of this three part tale!

And now, here’s your moment of zen:

Next time, on “Autumn Occurances (Part 2 of 3:  From Xi’an with Love)”:

(all actual quotes)

[Police officer:”You know, it’s illegal for you to do that here.”

Matt:  “Well isn’t there anything I can do?!”

P.O.:  “For your own safety, your only option is to just return home.” ]

[Me:  “So what you’re telling me is you met a Chinese girl on the plane, and now she wants us to join her ‘family’ on a ‘tour’ of Xi’an?  And you don’t find that sketchy at all?”

Ben:  “Nope, should be fun.  And cheap!”

Me:  “Alright, sounds good!”]

[Tim:  “Hey, sorry to bother you guys, but would you mind if I threw-up into this trash can here?”

Ben (with Matt nodding in agreement):  “No troubles mate!  Go right ahead.”]

See you next time, viewers!

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Weekend In Zhe Jiang (among other things)


Normally, I’d try to start my posts with something witty or amusing, but I cannot think of a better way to start a post than with this:

Immediately following this picture, Tiger and I rode off to a burning village and saved 100 orphans while fighting ninjas.

Yes, that is a live tiger.  And if you didn’t notice, you can see that his paw is bigger than my head and his head is about the size of my body.  But I still think I could take him.  I mean, I used to play rugby . . .

That picture comes from an epic weekend trip the school took us on to the province just below ours, but more on that in a second.  We’ll start with work this week.  I’d like to clarify for those who are confused.  The school I work at  is a secondary school for learning English, so it runs unusual hours.  Normally, I start work at around 4:00 pm Tuesday – Friday, then have work all day (8:30 am – 9 pm with a lunch and dinner break) on Saturday, with Sunday’s and Monday’s being my days off (in October it’ll be Monday’s and Tuesday’s).  On Weds. and Fri. I have to go to work at 8:30 am till about noon to get together with the other teachers, work on lesson plans and practice Chinese.  As for the actual teaching, basically Matt and I are here because we’re foreign and Western, and our most important duty is to be seen by the parents ><.  This means that we teach different classes of kids every day, though as you would imagine the lessons often repeat.  We mostly do review just before Unit tests to help the kids work on their pronunciation, but every few days I’ll have to teach some new material, which is always fun.  It is difficult though not having the same group of kids, so every single class I have to go through quick introductions and establishing control, but it’s still fun working with kids.  I hope that clears up some things for people who have had questions :).

Now for the actual week.  I’ll start things on Saturday evening, which consisted of a singing contest by the kids.  On the cuteness scale, this ranked somewhere  between puppies and baby penguins.  To give you some idea:

Being the foreign teachers, Matt and I were judges, which was fun, though I would’ve felt bad if I gave the kids low scores.  Therefore, no one got below a 9.05 :D.  All together, it was fun and entertaining.  Also, I discovered to my surprise that on the wall of the theater/performance room hangs this:

Go Bears!

It’s actually weird, in the room hangs all the Pac-10 schools except Washington and Oregon St., and Minnesota (randomly).  But that’s it.  No Harvard or Princeton, just the Pac-10.  Weird coincidence . . .

"You've now entered the Twighlight Zone"

After wrapping all that up, Matt and I traveled back to our place, where we quickly went to sleep knowing we had to be up at 5:30 the next morning to start our weekend trip to Zhe Jiang.  Haha, no that’s not true.  The Tottenham Hotspurs were playing a key match in the Premier league against Wolvhampton starting at 10 pm, so of course we stayed up and watched that.  And the Spurs won, coming from behind 1-0 in the second half to win 3-1!  Go spurs!

The next morning we just got out of bed and down the street in time to catch our tour buses as they headed out (three total for all the teachers/staff at the school).  After a little less than 3 hours, we arrived in the small mountain village of Anji, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life.

Picture of the small town from the trail we hiked.

It’s sounds cliche, but you see all the pictures/paintings of Chinese landscape and you’re like “well, I’m sure it’s only like that a few areas, and it’s probably not that ridiculously awesome.”  But it’s like that everywhere.  Every mountain/hill is the coolest mountain/hill you’ve ever seen.

Anyways, when we got there the first thing we did was start up a hiking trail to see the waterfalls along a small stream running down the mountain.  Here’s the start of the trail:

And now I’ll take you on a picture journey through the trail that includes myself, the other teachers, some freaky walkways and an awesome rope bridge.  Oh, and amazing scenery:

We'll start with a picture of me looking epic in front of a waterfall. Of course.

The town as we walked through it to the trail.

River and a duck.

Trail entrance

Matt and myself in the cages that apparently they put all foreigners in (it's a little demeaning, but we get free food and don't have to wear clothes!).

Some of the teachers I work with.

More teachers.

A random Chinese word inscribed on a rock. I was too lazy to look it up, so I'll just say it means either "Wisdom" or "Beware of mutant spiders!"

Another of the many waterfalls.

More teachers.

Probably the least sketchy part of the pathway up the mountain.

Bridge.

Bridge. And a couple of teachers.

Some of the mountains as seen from the trail.

A somewhat sketcher part of the path.

Rope Bridge!

Picture from the Rope Bridge!

More teachers (notice her height compared to Matt and myself).

Forest.

The town.

There you have it, a pretty good idea of what the hike was like.  Except minus all the sweating and the shaking legs.  Or the spiders.  I couldn’t get a good picture of them, but that’s probably for the best since they would haunt your dreams.

After the hike, we had a brief lunch (which consisted of a whole chicken, fish, and bamboo, which is surprisingly tasty, along with a few other things), followed by rafting.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of this, because I would’ve never seen my camera again, but I do have one that got taken in a sort of disneyland camera-on-the-river way.  But it was way more intense than I first thought.  It was two people per raft, and at one point I though my partner and I were going to die.  But hey, that’s why they gave us helmets!

After the rafting, we travelled to our hotel, had a quick rest, then off to dinner (which consisted of a whole chicken, fish, and bamboo, which is decent, along with a few other things), followed by a trip with some of the other teachers out to an arcade/mall.  We ended the evening at a pool bar, which was fun, though pool is a little different over here (smaller balls, basically. . .  which is what she said).

The next morning, after a quick breakfast, we headed over to a famous park in the area.  Ready for another picture journey?  No?  Well too friggen bad.

River just in front of the park.

Entrance of the park.

Lake in the park.

More of the lake.

Some of the scenery.

Funny sign!

Some of the park's attractions.

Pathway to stairs.

Hyena!

More scenery.

A theatre where we watched some local entertainment.

OMG BEARS ON SCOOTERS.

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Seriously though, that's a shit ton of deadly animals.

All the tigers and lions lined up (a couple of lions are off camera actually). That really pissed off one nearest is the one I hugged!

Scenery.

Yay seals!

More scenery.

Another rope bridge! But bigger, wobblier, and with crocodiles underneath!

Picture from the rope bridge! (I tried to take a pic of the crocodiles, but almost lost the camera).

That more or less ends our journey through that park, which was fun, though very tiring, and very hot (one of the themes this weekend was sweat).  After finishing up here, we grabbed a quick lunch (which consisted of a whole chicken, fish, and bamboo, which is fucking horrible and I hope I never see it again, along with a few other things), then off too yet another park.  Pics or it didn’t happen!

Entrance.

Scenery.

The epic entrance to the bamboo forest.

The bamboo forest, with cool Chinese writing on it. Though probably what you're seeing is the equivalent of "For a good time, call 555-0394," and various racial slurs.

Bamboo forest.

Bamboo forest and bridge.

Another huge theater with a giant slide for some reason.

More of the theater.

Scenery.

More scenery.

More scenery.

Ohhh, pretty flowers . . .

More scenery.

Whoa, big surprise, more scenery! But this time with a building!

More teachers! And the last picture!

There you have it, a full journey of my weekend trip through Zhe Jiang.  Besides the mosquito bites and probably hundreds of different illnesses I got from them, I also picked up a couple gifts for friends and family along the way.  Hopefully I’ll be sending those out soon!

As I finish writing this, it is officially Mid-Autumn day here in China (中秋节)which means a day off work and lots of mooncake!  So happy mid-autumn day everyone!  I’ll talk to you after my trip to Shanghai.

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Finally, a new post! And in Wuxi!

Good evening loyal followers (it’s about 7 pm at the time of this writing over here in zhong guo).  I finally managed to get my computer onto the internet, which makes me feel like I’m typing at lightning speed.

Having completed a week and a half of full teaching, I can say a few things for certain:  The kids are adorable, fun, and don’t fit the stereotype of “studious, quiet, shy” Chinese kids.  In other words:  They’re little kids.  I haven’t taken any pictures of them yet, but I promise to have some before I leave so u can all enjoy their adorableness.  Also the last time I took pictures of kids, I got a lot of questions from the police . . .  Other things I know:  All the teachers are young and cute (no ones older than 26).  It’s also a ratio of about 30 women to every one guy, so that’s good odds.

The city of Wuxi itself is pretty good. It’s small by Chinese standards for a city (which means it only has a population of 2 million, 4 million including suburbs), the bus system is pretty good, and people are pretty nice, even though they always stare at the giant white man amongst them.  The food has been great so far, though the Wuxi cuisine is mostly sweet food.  The teachers who have taken us out have always gotten the spicy, sichuan style food for us since everyone likes it more than the sweet stuff.  It’s been awesome so far, and unbelievably cheap.  I can walk away from a full meal (soup, rice, dumplings and a drink) at a sit-down restaurant for the equivalent of $2-3 US.  And $7 is good enough for a weeks supply at the grocery store.  That being said, there are some things that make my soul hurt when I go try to buy food at the grocery store:

"Turtles in a half shell . . . Turtle Power! . . . *sob*"

Still, it’s fantastic having a giant hyper-mart right across the street (it’s a Carrefor for all you French fans out there).  It’s sorta become my roommate (referred to hitherto as “Matt”) and mine sanctuary, as the first week we went there every day to get basic supplies.  He was the one in the picture last week.  He’s about 6′ 3″, from east London (which means he has a Cockney accent, but doesn’t sound anything like Dick van Dyke), is a fan of Tottenham football (Go Spurs!), and is a pretty damn good singer.  He also sucks at poker, but really wants to learn, so I’ve been teaching him for “free” (a.k.a. winning all his money).

But that doesn’t mean there arn’t some downsides to this city.  First off, there’s construction everywhere due to the construction of a subway system.  But that’d be ok, if not for these horrible, heart-rending creations straight from the bowls of hell:

"If you try to run, you'll only die tired."

The drivers in Wuxi, and China in general, make New York drivers look courteous and lovely people, who refrain from using their horns except in life threatening situations.  I get almost run over by one of these scooters (or a bike) at least once per day.  The adrenaline I get from dodging these guys while I’m walking on the freakin sidewalk is better than a cup of coffee any day.  Not only do the drivers of these drive on the sidewalk, they drive the wrong way, ignore traffic signals, assume they have the right away no matter what, will routinely speed by the opening door of a bus as it lets people off (that one made my life flash before my eyes), and all this while not wearing helmets.  Oh, and it’s not uncommon to see whole families on these little things (Mom, dad, a kid, and one time even a dog who was just chilling on the foot rest), all without seatbelts or helmets.  Yet somehow I have yet to see one horrific accident.  But when I do, I promise lots of pics!

Long story short, however, I’m pretty settled in here, and having a good time.  Matt and I have already bought a dart board (50c) and a cord to connect our ipods to the surround sound, so the place is a proper bachelor pad now.  The teachers are great, and have taken us out to lunch/dinner 4 times so far and brought us to see Inception.  Matt and I are getting along great, and I’ve even learned how to make some fantastic fried rice.  And of course, like I said, the kids are really fun.  I actually teach a different group of kids every class, but each has been a new challenge.  My first few classes were kinda a bust, but then once of the teachers, Bruce, told me that for this age I need to “be a clown.”  That advice worked wonders, and I’m now doing well.  The first time I heard the kids tell me they wanted me to return soon was one of the most rewarding things ever.  Also, it was “Teachers Day” in China yesterday, which means I got a ton of gifts from the kids (mostly flowers and chocolates, which is fantastic).

Upcoming events:  It’ll be Zhong Qiu Jie (Mid-Autumn festival) soon, so I’ll be eating lots of Yue Bing (moon cake).  Then on the 19th and 20th we’re taking a trip with all the teachers to the province right below us apparently to do some sightseeing in the countryside.  Finally, October 1st is “National Day,” where we should get at least 3 or 4 days off, and maybe even a week (we’re not sure yet), so I’ll certainly be doing something then.  Needless to say, there’s a ton to look-forward to.  Now here’s your moment of zen (thanks to the suitcase thread for this one!):  http://www.twitvid.com/Q41DB

P.S.  I will try to post all my pictures on here in another post, since I can’t access facebook on the computer (if someone wants to gchat/email me a proxy server, that’d be wonderful!).

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Beijing and settling in

Hello world! Long time no talk! The last week has been pretty uneventful. But you know me, I’m a picture taking whore, so I took photo documentation of all the boring things I did. Here’s a few examples. Try to guess what’s going on in them! The rest of the pics should be posted sometime soon on facebook.

Beijing was “hella legit” to use the words the kids use these days. Lots of gawking chinese people (I had about 30 people want a picture with me at tiananmen square) lots of bargain shopping and haggling, lots of touring, and lots of great food.

Things I did not expect about the program I’m with:

1. The number of people; there are about 200 of us in total, way more than I thought.

2. Everyone’s british: it’s like me and a couple other americans and that’s it. It’s like being in two dif foreign countries at once. Or like I’m in Wee Britain. Gotta keep an eye out for poppins.

3. My school and apartment is ridiculously nice and modern: the school has every media you could imagine and each class is only 16 kids. The apartment has a washing machine, built in surround sound, full media center, two bedrooms with king beds and a walk in closet.

All told things are going awesome so far. Though, right now a ridiculous thunder storm is going on outside (it is monsoon season down here still), but I kinda like it :). Tomorrow is my first day teaching, so expect my next update to be all about my love of little kids . . . Now for your moment of zen:

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It begins tomorrow . . .

Hey everyone, you’ll have to excuse me if the first few posts on here are fairly boring and pedantic.  I’m still new to this, and the last time I had a blog was in 9th grade.  Back then, I spoke mostly like an angry high school kid and even managed to get one of my best friends and my sister into a crazy argument.  I’ll try to avoid that if possible.  Though, it would be interesting . . .

This blog will cover my travels etc in China while I live there for at least 6 months.  If I can access this in China that is . . .  I’ll try to update every week, and no less than twice a month.  Though, since I’m in China I might not always be able to be completely forthcoming or risk sparking the ire of the Chinese govt.  With that in mind, lets make up a few basic codewords:

Papaya Stand- Children’s sweatshop run by well-known coorporation: i.e. “I finally arrived at the place where I’m teaching and there’s a huge Papaya Stand run by Wal-Mart near by.  Looks like I can get some really cheap papayas!”

The Belt – For any HIMYM fans, you know what I’m talking about.

Rousseau – I am being watched by govt. officials:  i.e. “So my last blog apparently got Rousseau really interested in me.”

Rice – The government has me hostage/is coming to get me right now.  Take immediate action by 1) calling the embassy 2) realizing the U.S. government has it’s hands tied 3) Going rogue 4)  Saving me by any means necessary while simultaneously foiling a assassination/biochemical/nuclear threat 5) Gaining the eternal gratitude of the U.S. government: i.e. “First time going to the cafeteria today, and man is the rice sooo good!  I didn’t realize how much better rice is when it’s really fresh, but wow.  I love rice.  Fried rice, steamed rice, veggie rice . . .”

Hopefully this won’t be confusing  and you’ll be able to quickly know what I’m actually telling you.  My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon, and then I’ll have orientation.  I’ll try to blog before I have to start teaching, which will be sometime next weekend.  To end my blogs, I’m going to steal something from another popular blog that I enjoy reading, who stole it from the Daily Show.  Here’s your moment of Zen:

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