Saturday, 17 December 2011

College Christmas Cracker Commencing in China

On Thursday we went to a Christmas Party at the College, well they call it a party, I'll explain.

One night this week, quite late, we had a telephone call from James, one of our Chinese colleague teachers. He speaks, quite good, but often archaic English, for example he will never use a common word or expression if he knows or thinks he knows one which is longer or more out of use or archaic. He learns his English from dictionaries. So for example he will often ask, when we are going home, if we are going to our abode. No matter how many times we tell him that we do not abide in abodes, but that we 'go home' he perseveres as if he doesn't hear or just cannot compute!

James also likes getting his face into my photos, although I have resisted posting his picture, here he is in all his peacock glory. But saying that he can take a joke at his expense and is essentially a good guy and very helpful and kind!

Anyway in the telephone call on Monday night at about 9:30 am he informs us we have been invited to a Christmas Party and its on Sunday at 7:45 pm - which of course makes the heart sink a bit, because who wants to go out at 7:45 on a dark cold Sunday evening, anyway most of us will have been ensconced in the Marlin for happy hour (4-7) for hours.

To try and seal the deal James also tells us that they will give us a meal in the Student canteen, heart sinks a bit more, and that they will pay the taxi's there and back - heart rises a little bit!

Why turn down a student Christmas party one might ask?  Surely theres going to be lots of pretty girls, dancing, maybe mistletoe etc etc!!!! - Well you pretty quickly learn that on campus what a 'party' really means for Chinese students. It means sitting in a cold hall in serried ranks watching various 'talented' students put on performances that wouldn't rate the audition part of the X factor - 'China has Talent' this ain't! 

However, on Tuesday we are told that the date of the party has now changed and its on Thursday night. The Chinese are always doing this to us, inviting us to things with about one days notice, as if we have nothing better to do than sit, lonely,  in our flats ready to jump at the slightest invite out. They also do the same thing with school. For example, we have been planning exams and organising our classes around the exams, last night (Friday) at about 6:30pm I was telephoned to tell me that the school is being visited by inspectors on Monday and Tuesday and I have to carry out my usual teaching responsibilities! But all of my students are expecting exams, we've been planning for exams - doh!

So come Thursday night the game plan was this, all of the teachers met in the Blue Marlin for some pre-party festive 'spirit'! We generally got there about 4:30 ish - well into 'happy hour'.

 Tom and Jack
Tom and Jack and errrr - someone remind me
 Decorations at the Marlin

 Rick n Matt obviously discussing something serious, Rick on his first Long Island tea (he becomes dangerous after 3!)

We were due at the College at 6:40pm as they were giving us dinner/supper. This didn't raise our hopes much as all they were offering was a meal in the students canteen. The average cost of a meal there is about 6rmb or about 60p. 

After a few drinks and a feeble rendition of the 12 days of Christmas just in case we were called upon to perform we all piled into taxis to take us to college.  

As we were being escorted to the canteen by James and a student, we asked James about buying beer in the students canteen. He told us that alcohol was expressly forbidden on campus and of course it was not sold in the canteen shops. But we knew better, we knew beer, in bottles, was sold on campus, we had seen it in the shops and seen people drinking it. But James insisted that this was not the case and it was illegal on campus.

After we had queued to order food Nichole and I sloped off to the shop in the canteen to buy eight bottles of beer. One for each of the foreign teachers.  We didn't buy one for James, because of course alcohol wasn't sold on campus and it was expressly forbidden. This is what we told James when he asked why we hadn't bought him one adding 'Of course James, we didn't want to get you into trouble'! (There is a back story to this, he started dating one of the Blue Marlin bar girls, a student at another college we called Miss Ho. He totally denied that this was the fact and told us all we must not talk about his private life at college. He upheld this deceit to the extreme even claiming that the girl he was seen with on the bus by colleagues on the same bus was not in fact Miss Ho, although we all knew Miss Ho very well.)


The full set - James at the back with my bottle!

Rick n Todd chowing down


Matt n Peggy

Peggy playing peek a boo with a child

Then after dinner we went off to the students entertainment block where the 'party' was going to happen.

Nichole and students

The stage is set
Happy boys
Nichole and friend

So as usual we were sat in serried ranks and had to smile and say hi to all the students there and have our pictures taken - but really its no big deal, and its fun and its good to do stuff for the students who seem to appreciate it and really like us being there.

Then the entertainment starts:

There was a dancer

Then some Santa MC's

Then another singer

Then Santa's again

 And they called Matt up to perform
 Matt told a joke, in Chinese, which was very funny, I think.

Then more dancers

 Doing hip hop shapes circa 1980....not quite street dance...

Then another singer

Then the Santa MC's came back...

They started a game in which Peggy and Nichole were volunteered to take part. The game was guess the number!

There was some confusion and debate

But luckily Peggy and Nichole were on the ball, as always....

The appreciative audience sat and watched......

Of course the boys were called as well - for the same game...

Then at last another singer.....did I say there was no heating in the room - hence the overcoat.

Then some time for an arty photo of the water bottles
 Oh and then a 'fashion show' - things started to look up, female students voguing around the stage for what reason? I'm not quite sure...

Notice the bored expression - so post modern huh?

And of course the boys came on too

 Then it happened as couples too..

And the finale - all together...

By this time we were so excited we couldn't contain ourselves and as it was nearly 9pm and 'really late' we decided to call it a night, some colleagues had teaching the next day at 8am and some of us needed to get back to the Blue Marlin for a much needed drink! So we left them to party on....

But before we could go we were all presented with a gift.

Yes we were all given a cat pillow in a bag, I'll refrain here from the cruder versions, but I'm sure you can guess.

So the Chinese Christmas starts here! Ho Ho Ho

 (BTW the Blue Marlin have told me they can't provide a vegetarian Christmas dinner for me, not even a festive pizza - that's the thanks you get for spending ones disposable income there...all I need is a plate of vegetables doh! But who cares hey?  F*@* em!)

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