I’ve been up since 2300. Have to start getting used to military time. Trying to find things to do to keep me busy and awake until the evening and I can go to sleep. Its hard with the heat, but I’ve got classes tomorrow and need to get my sleep schedule changed now.
Last night as I was working on my last posting the Buckland Director of Operations kept us entertained. His name is Greg and he’s a really great guy. He was having to wait up because two new teachers were coming in very late at 2:30am. So he told us stories about his life and experiences in China. As much as I’d like to repeat them, they were pretty personal. But we all chatted, learned that when it gets dark you don’t want to go alone. Greg even escorted us just down the street to get some instant noodles, nuts, and drinks.
Once 2:30 came along we packed up and went back into the Hostel. See when left at 11pm and then learned that the place locks up for the night at a certain time. We also learned and just about all the other teachers went out drinking that night…and they too stayed out past the lockup time. Greg had to wake up the old man who runs the hostel at 2:30 to let us all in, including the two new teachers who just arrived.
So we stayed up through the night, watched some kind of Chinese Idol thing, read books, and planned out our next day. We left at 7am in the hopes of getting stuff done before it got hot. No such luck as most of the stores don’t open until 9am. So we ended up going all the way down to where the KFC was and got breakfast. I had learned something the day before, and now I had confirmed the truth, the Chinese do not know how to make bacon. Oh they have access to pigs and can do ham, just not bacon. Our tour guide the day before said he had to learn which part of the pig bacon came from, how to tell the folks at the meat market to cut that part out, and then fix it himself. So yeah, no bacon till I get back to America.
Breakfast at the KFC cost about six dollars for the two of us. Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich, three potato sticks, and a small soft drink. It was tasty, and with full bellies headed back out. Amanda was accosted to purchase postcards, which she did. The seller wanted them for about $3.33, Amanda countered with 82 cents. The seller laughed and came back with $1.66 and Amanda agreed to that. Someone else wanted to sell me Inception on DVD! I didn’t even know it was out already. 😉 But I turned that down. Then Amanda saw a scarf she had to have. The starting price was 120 Kuai (20 dollars), and Amanda countered with 50 Kaui (8.33). Then seller came back with 75 Kuai, Amanda said no and started to walk away. Then seller then followed us, lowering the price down..70..65…okay okay 60! And Amanda bought a scarf. The seller then tried to sell her a second scarf. Amanda did not want a second scarf, but the price for two had dropped to 110 when we finally left, less than expensive than what the seller wanted for just one to start with. Haggling at its finest.
We also saw several cats roaming the streets. They were all very skinny and meowing for food. There was a black cat, an orange cat, and a grey striped cat.
It was still only 8:30 and we’d seen this temple on top of one of the mountains by the park. So we treked up the stairway to get to it. The stairway was step and not evenly cut, so we had to take it slowly. It was also already getting hot so be the time we got to it we were hot, sweaty, and nasty. Amanda took pictures and we slowly worked our way down. Next we found drinks, then went by a digital photo place to get more passport photos taken for a trip on tuesday.
Then it was bank time. I exchanged some money, and we both took money out of our American accounts. Luckily there is a China Bank of Construction here and they are affilitated with Bank of America. So there were no fees for using this bank’s atm. However, when it came to exchanging money we discovered nobody will exchange coins. So the Japanese Yen we got from my Dad is now just dead weight. We can’t find anyone who will take it or exchange it after hitting up multiple banks.
So we got back to our rooms about 10am. Our clothes were once again soaked with sweat, so we showered and put on fresh clothes. We will need to launder our clothes soon at this rate. We went by the office to get online, and met Greg again. He invited us out lunch with the rest of the office group. He has taken a real like to us. At lunch we got to try real Chinese food for the first time. Everything was very spicy, and with only a little to drink there was only so much I could eat. One of the better items were green beans that had been diced and mixed with spices and bits of meat. It was hot but good. There was even chicken…two of them in fact beaks and all. We couldn’t follow everything, but Amanda did explain how we found Buckland online, and how everyone online had great things to say about Buckland. We even told them about the Facebook group which took them by suprise as Facebook is blocked in China. Amanda may end up doing work on Facebook for Buckland. We’ll see how that goes.