Sunday, March 05, 2006

The "Kitchen" ahem

The "Kitchen" ahem, originally uploaded by erinyesmystwalker.

For MORE photos of the new place click on the one of the links above (below the photo)

We have been here a week now, and still no blog. Bad us! But now I will spend some time sharing with any of you who are reading this blog what we have been doing. Sometimes I seriously doubt if anyone is reading any more. But I can’t blame you; we have been a little depressing of late.

Man I have been down on China. Gaozhou did it to us, the solitude among millions of people, with a couple of amazing friends but a bunch of monotony and … you know just some dirty, annoying people.

So anyway, in Wenzhou we met another amazing lady (like Will in the last town) it is likely that she will become a great friend, she’s mid-thirties and you would run out of fingers counting the number of countries she has lived in. Great stories! Anyone who knows me knows I like listening to people’s stories. Anyway – I think I feel a little less bad about feeling so separate here because she said that this is the first place she has been where she feels the need to talk to foreigners. And she’s been pretty much alone for a year. GEEEEEEEES.

So, If you read the blog from Hong Kong, you know we were not having the best time, and we continued to have a shitty time. Especially when we went to tranferr the money to Aus. Basically we realised that we prolly lost about $50AUD or more in the bad decisions that we made when exchanging it, and then again in fees. But at least we got it done.

Then the bit from our hotel in Guangzhou to the train with a big back pack, a little back pack, a laptop, a plastic bag (which broke) and a freeking heavy wheely case each. Some guys at the train station tried to get us to pay for carrying our bags. It started off at 3yuan. Then it went to 3 each bag, then to 70 somehow. At which point we told them to fuck off (excuse the language, but that’s what we said to them). When one guy took the brad;s bag off his back, he stretched his arm out as if to say “holly fuck that was heavy!”. I’m happy to say, I could carry more than the average Chinese man. But it was FREEEEEKIN’ hard to carry all of that stuff never-the-less!

I was just getting over a bout of food poisoning, and by the time we made it up and down the stairs and paths to the train being pushed and pulled by Chinese at their worst I literally couldn’t lift the case onto the train. When we got to our sleeper, I had to ask Brad to untangle me from all the bag straps. And I had the lighter of the bags. My excuse for being such a woos? I was SICK!

Anyway – a train ride lasted 28 hours, and we arrived in Wenzhou at 11pm. Paul (the schools foreign affairs officer aka gofer) picked us up and took us right to this lovely apartment.

We rested, and unpacked, and discovered that the bed was soft and good, and it’s a cosy place. Now at the end of one week, we have everything that we really need including two lovely desks, comfy chairs, nice bookcase, 2 toilets, good shower, washing machine, HUGE balcony with outdoor furniture. The ONLY thing missing is a BBQ, snags and my family and friends coming over bringing the beers!

This town we have discovered is small enough to walk around if you want to spend all day doing it. But getting a bike might be the way to go. It’s even possible to get a really nice bike, which I might do and them ship it back to Aus.

We have found good, fresh milk (not perfect, but good and fresh) butter, imported cereal, biscuits, canned food of various description, coffee beans, salsa, brownie mix etc etc. None of which would have been found in Gaozhou. We can also enjoy a great deal of window shopping. The nice thing about this town is that there are rich people here, who have a taste for the nice things, so we can window shop at nice things that even we can’t afford.

There is this great place on 3 levels they call ‘Digital City’. We asked one of the students “where can I buy something for my computer” and they kindly pointed us to this place by writing it on a pieve of paper to show the cabbie. Teenagers often know the city better than their parents because they like to go shopping. Anyway – great place, and I could happily walk around checking out this and that for ages without anything in mind to buy.

There are 2 KFCs, one Maccas, and at least 4 big supermarkets that we know of. All with a different selection of stuff we like to eat. Way better than the 2 or 3 supermarkets filled with snack and junk food mostly. The first pay check will go the way of a toaster, sandwich press, coffee filter, blender, etc etc... And a plethora of imported foods!!!

Not that we need to buy food at all. The school food is free and GOOD, but filled with MSG unfortunately. That aside, there is at least 4 kinds of seafood in every meal. These guys take seafood seriously, and they MUST eat it daily (they say). So at dinner I can have whole fish, fish with veggies, prawns, squid, fish balls, whole crab, crab with veggies, oysters, shellfish (cooked and UNCOOKED). They do make other things as well including things with other meat and tofu. I have been eating a lot of broccoli as they have it at every meal.

Too bad about breakfast though, I can’t get used to Chinese deep fried white flower, or steamed white bread with meet inside for breakfast. So we have taken to eating at home or getting some bread from the school shop. Now that we can get muesli, or other cereal form the local supermarket, that’s not a problem. Or it won’t be as soon as we get paid. At the moment, we converted almost all of our money and sent it at Australia. So we are actually quite tight. It’s just by choice of course; we could get it back if we wanted.

We are actually teaching at 2 different schools. There is 1 (the best school in Wenzhou), and 51 (affiliated with 1 but kind of a private school).

The students at one are obviously super motivated, and have really high ability. The students are a little less motivated and have much less ability, but are still nice. The lessons with those students will be more teacher centred I think. I hope that at 1 they can be more self motivated to complete and participate in more complex and meaningful tasks.

We have been asked to give the students a grade. We will see how it goes, I think I can do it, but I’m worried about Brad because he has a bunch of study to do, and giving marks to over 500 different students might be a difficult thing. I really think there would be a lot of data entry to do.

Anyway – Everything is looking pretty sweet here at the moment, and we are really eager to enjoy this year more than last year. I’m sure although we will really miss some things about Gaozhou, I hope we came leave some of the negative feelings we had towards China behind us, and get back to this adventure.

I am still missing you.

Bathroom #1

Bathroom #1, originally uploaded by erinyesmystwalker.


Bedroom, originally uploaded by erinyesmystwalker.

Living room

Living room, originally uploaded by erinyesmystwalker.


Blacony, originally uploaded by erinyesmystwalker.

our new place


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.