Sunday, November 2, 2008
Day two in Guangzhou, China
Well, I have finally made it to Guangzhou, China! After about 36 hours of travel time I arrived at my hotel. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a company purchased hotel stay, but much to my surprise it is very nice. I am on the 12th floor in a studio type apartment room. I have a TV, futon, queen size bed, desk, closet, kitchen, and western style bathroom.
One of the things I noticed first is that I cannot understand anything that is written because it is all in Chinese characters. The remotes, intercom, and lock box in my room are all written in Chinese characters! Therefore, my first lesson here in China has been “how to ask for help.”
After taking a shower upon arriving I decided to venture out to find some food. The wonderful lady, Susan, who picked me up from the airport told me that if I just walk down about 2 blocks and cross the busy 6 lane road, I would be able to find several restaurants. However, when I crossed the road I didn’t see anything that resembled a restaurant. Finally, I chose a place where I saw two people inside sitting at tables eating.
The waitress approached me speaking Chinese and handed me a menu with no pictures and only Chinese characters. I was able to discover that it was a place that only served noodles. The waitress, who was too kind, could say, “beef” in English and to that I nodded my head. Five minutes later a huge bowl of broth, 2 inch wide, thin, super long noodles, thin almost transparent pieces of beef, tofu, and vegetables was placed in front of me along with some chopsticks. Now, I don’t consider myself a novice at chopsticks, but those noodles sure were slippery!
When it was time to find my way back to my hotel it was already dark and it was only 6pm! I knew how to get back, but wanted to try to walk around the block to get to my hotel. After walking about 8 blocks I realized that I was lost. Now it was quite dark and there seemed to be fewer and fewer people on the street. After trying to turn down a street that was closed off for construction and having a police officer stop me I quickly decided that what I needed to do was back track all the way back to where I knew how to get to the hotel. Never have I walked so fast and been so exhausted, hot, sweaty, and scared. Needless to say I was so thrilled to make it back to my room!
The next morning Susan picked me up at 9am. We got in a taxi and headed straight to the school that I will be working at. From my understanding we were only going to be there for a few hours. Well, those few hours turned into 10 hours! I spent the entire day observing classes. It took all that was in me to stay awake. By the end of the day, at 7pm, I was so exhausted so I grabbed some dinner next door to the school and took a taxi back to my hotel. (I was able to tell the taxi driver where to go because it was written down on a piece of paper in Chinese.)
I am very excited to start working at the school. There are about 12 foreign teachers, 4 local teachers, and quite a few receptionists who work there. I was introduced to just about everyone, but couldn’t tell you all of their names just yet. They all seemed quite excited to see me. Their greeting was, “Yes! You must be the new teacher!” It was almost like I was this long awaited present arriving. I am sure I will make fast friends with the teachers.
Talk to ya soon…