China Adventures: Part Two

So the flight from Pudong Airport was delayed by two hours. We think it was due to storms in the area of Guilin, as all the other flights going there were delayed as well. So not only did we come in late, two other teachers also arrived late. We finally got to the hostel about 11:30pm. While there are times I kick myself for having packed so much, I am now glad that I did. I’ll get to why later.

Today we did a little exploring on our own, found a local bakery. I’m still trying to find something to eat there that doesn’t make me slightly queasy when biting in to it. The problem is its just different, and while working on it I’m wondering if this will be the thing that gets me sick all day. So even when I’m hungry its hard to keep my appetite up. After that we talked to some of the other teachers who have shown up.

There are several people from England, Florida, Australia, and one from Arizona, and one from Michigan. We went on a tour of the city to learn where things are, but its a lot like being new to Orlando. The streets don’t quite make sense. Also, there isn’t much of a ryhme or reason to travelling on roads. Folks just go where they want to get where they are going. Its busy in my lane? Lets move into on coming traffic! They’ll move. Part of this is due to a lack of signs or street lights, but I don’t think that would help. There is one intersection with a stop lights, but if the street is clear folks will go right through the red light.

On the tour we learned where to get school supplies, good local places to eat, the local game shop, nearest grocery, the place that specalizes in western goods, local bank branches, and the tourist row area. Tourist row, also known as West Street is also where you’ll find resturants that have western style food. Its still not the same as home, and its a bit pricey compared to local fare. Amanda ordered a hamburger that came back well-done. She doesn’t plan to order one again while here. I had breakfast, which was good but nerves and just the heat kept me from eating too much.

The weather is just like in Florida. Hot and muggy leaving you drenched in sweat. Just the main difference is there aren’t any shops to duck into for A/C. The Chinese don’t like major temperature changes so going from hot to cold isn’t well liked. Plus most of the shops are really just stalls. Its like at flea world, row after row of storage units converted into selling spaces. When we tell folks we’re from Florida everyone else is, “Oh, so you’re used to weather like this.” and we say, “No, you never get used to weather like this.”

The hostel doesn’t have wireless, but it does have an ethernet connection. However I didn’t pack a cable. On the tour we stopped at a computer stall and got a fifteen foot cable for $1.33. However, after connecting it the laptops still didn’t see anything. Trying to figure out if we need to get the drivers for our lan adapters or if its an issue the cable we got, or the hostel. Plan on asking the others who got cables tomorrow if they had similar problems.

So about 2:30-3pm shops start closing as it is the hotest part of the day and folks go off to take a nap. Its even in our training schedule as “Rest Time”. So when we got done with the tour we went to take a nap too. After a nice long cool shower. Its hot and muggy out folks. Remember me saying how I was wondering why I packed so much. Right now I’m going through two shirts a day because I don’t get a chance to cool down while out and about. Its not like I can duck into a shop to cool down. Water has been our biggest expense, but we’re able to get 1.5 liter bottles (50 ounces) for 50 cents. Every stop we end up buying another bottle just to keep hydrated.

So we fell asleep around 3pm and woke up at 11pm. Hence this mid-day post for you all. But at least we’re getting relaxed enough to sleep.