Tuesday, August 28, 2007

1st Update

Wow I have only been in China for several days and I feel that there is so much to share.

I was told by the airline that I needed my invitation letter, with only 45 min left until my flight left due to some baggage rearrangement etc...that didn't leave enough time to go home and back... After landing in Newark I spent the majority of my 5 hour layover looking for a place to have my documents shipped before I left for Hong Kong.... finally after talking on the phone for several hours with various people. I was able to have them faxed to the hotel at the airport and had to go through security with a whopping 30 min left until my plane left. Fun times! :/

I met up with Jeana one of the other girls who is teaching in Newark which definately helped the 15 hour flight to go faster, but with 6 bad movie choices, no leg room, etc... there is no way to make the time go faster...

We arrived in Hong Kong around 7pm and our next flight didn't leave until 8 am the next morning... because the Hong Kong airport is on an island it is at least 30 min. to the mainland. We decided to just stay because we didn't want to shell out the money for a room, take the luggage with us etc... We definately had some fun times and couldn't wait until the tock ticked close enough to check our baggage in again. (Since we entered China and were switching airlines we had to take our luggage with us) Because of some different regulations with the Chinese airlines it took us about 30 min to check in etc...

Our plane landed around 10:30 am and we were soo happy to be on the ground for a while. ;) We were taken to our beautiful apartment which looks more like a townhouse. Marble and wood flooring, 4 bedroms, an office, nice kitchen, a washer, 2 1/2 bath-- so much nicer than anything we could have imagined.

Yesterday we did some shopping for various needs for the apartment, etc... being forewarned that most bathrooms in public places don't have toilet paper and if your lucky will have a door... but the other thing is that they are different toilets! So I had my first experience with a "squatty potty" since they installed western toilets in our apartment and in the English department at school... fun times most definately :)

the sights and smells are so graphic to the senses, at times I feel that I can't take it all in. village markets, the CRAZY traffic (where the lines and lights are merely suggestions!), beggar children, bartering system, and to top it off being a side show because of my skin, (one of our delivery men said that he had never seen a caucasion up close) :)

i have to go now, but I will be sending more updates and pictures soon.


A Night on The Town

I haven't been able to update my blog, so if you know of anyone who would want an update, please have them send me their email. thanks. :) Thursday night Omo the English Dean Assistant took us 4 foreign teachers to get cell phones down town. Since we are at the tail end of the rainy season, the rain slowly started to fall down as we waited for our bus. By the time an emptyish bus came and we got on the rain started to pour. There are several bus stops behind the school in a small village. Villages are usually small crowded and busy. A small road is made and the area quickly grows up around it. Carts, sedans (like taxi's) dump trucks, motorcycles, bikes everywhere! Watch your step and don't second guess yourself. As we were riding through the village the sites can be heartbreaking especailly with small children unattended playing>in or near the busy streets. The scenes quickly flash to new buildings and then an old dump that is falling apart. back and forth they change, finally as we reach down town. The kaleidascope of people, ethnicities, colors, Chines symbols swirl around ever so quickly. We got of near one of the Walmarts (yup-- they're pretty much everywhere!) and outside was an open market. We looked at the different items- each offering the "best price"... we went to about 4 phone shops within about 1 mile of each other. The last stop we found the best deal for a phone 280 yuan. You have to buy a phone here, you can't get them free with a plan.. so then we pay another 100 yuan to activate the phone and get the number. It has been about 2 hours now and we are all so hungry!!! Omo takes us to an authentic Yunnan restraunt. The place is so crowded, we sit at a dirty table and wait for them to clear the dishes (in China they don't normally wipe off the table, so everything is dirty outside of your bowl). We are then served an orange semi-jello that looks like it has melted with beans at the bottom. I slurped the gelatin and left the beans kind of too weird for me. Then we all brought huge serving bowls. That are piping hot! We are then brought pieces of raw meat, tofu,spices, vegitables, raw egg, etc... You then place whatever you would like into the liquid substance and it cooks the food it is so hot. Then semi-cooked noodles are brought and we dump that in as well... You have to wait a few minutes because it is still scalding, then you eat everything in your bowl. It was rather interesting and so incredibly good. Because Omo lives in a different area of town, she just pointed us to the right bus and we hoped that we would make it back, The rain started up again very hard and some of the roads looked like they had been hit with flash flooding. We finally make it back! safe and sound with the rain subsiding. Friday the English dept. had an orientation meeting which lasted most of the day. I finished my syllibis last night.. and my classes don't start until 2:30 on Monday. I feel somewhat apprehensive of this huge responsibility! Thank you for your thoughts and letters! :)Sarah);