Tuesday, 8 October 2013

National Day Holidays in China.

First day back at work today. We've had a week off because its been the National Day Holidays in China and the school has been closed for a week.  Most people who have the time off (regrettably not the builders outside my window) take the opportunity to go home to visit with family and relatives so public transport and the roads become horrendous.

On Tuesday of the holiday AJ came to get me as we were off for a bit of a jaunt. But he was late because, as we saw on the journey back to his place, the roads were pretty much at a stand still, especially the toll motorways, which during the holidays are free, so everyone uses them.

Anyway we were off, first to pick up a british couple who were hoping to teach at the new school AJ is at.  We picked them up at a big park place by a lake. This is Snooks looking out for them (she's in the drivers seat while AJ is outside)

Then we went off to AJ's place, which is about an hours drive with the british couple and their baby. This is the accommodation block which is still being built, but includes a five star hotel with all the amenities which the teachers can use. We also went up the road to look at the school which is still being built, but is open for business. Apparently its owned by the richest man in China so will be a top notch school. Families are already snapping up the flats so their kids can go there. (rich families btw)

This is heading back to AJ's place

The couple from Leicester (I forget their names) who are hoping to teach at the school. AJ is working as the schools 'pimp' finding good foreign teachers.

Snooks was more interested in their new hamster

The outdoor swimming pool

Then once we had done that we were off to xianlin where we had a beer in the Blue Marlin meeting up with Tom and Peggy, then we went for lunch.  This is called a 'dry pot'.  And it was delicious, we had two bowls between five of us, one was slightly spicy, the other was spicy.

Then back to the Marlin with Tom and Peggy, AJ had to shoot off
 Snooks with Ryan
 Then me and Snooks got a taxi home

On Wednesday, I went 'exploring' on my own. I was also looking to purchase a Juicer. So I got the bus to Herdingqiou (or River Bridge as Ive just discovered) where Auchan is. 

I got off the bus when I saw this big appliance store. I went in and checked out the prices of the juicers.
 Then I walked on towards Auchan taking in some of the sites, the buildings, this guy mediating by the 'River Bridge'

Fortunately at Auchan theres a Starbucks so I treated myself to a coffee and scone!
 Then took the Metro and a taxi to Metro which is like a big cash and carry. You have to get a card using your passport. But they usually have a good selection of western food and the drinks are cheaper than most places.

I was a bit dissapointed though. The juicer was only 1yuan (10p) cheaper than the appliance store and there was not much stuff I wanted to buy. I got two tins of Heinz baked beans and some pasta  with sauce.

 Then back to Herdingqiou and walked back towards the appliance store

I did buy the Juicer there. I tried to do a deal and buy a juicer and a blender to get a discount. But I didnt manage to get a discount on either and they pointed out to me that the juicer was already discounted by 300 yuan (£30) Its a Phillips so I splashed out on it - 799 yuan (about £80) which is 1 days work at my Saturday job!

 Later that evening, energised by my first juice (above) and my day of exploring I decided to have a walk around my local area. I took the bus a couple of stops and jumped off at the first strip of shops and stuff.  There was this street food market
 And fruit and vegetable sellers - this is the sugar cane guy.

 On Thursday I was taken swimming by a family of one of my students (Angel) that have befriended me. Well it was just Afeng - the mum, and Angel. I think I mentioned that Afeng had taken me swimming before and she just ploughed lengths for 1 hour having been a professional swimmer. This time both she and Angel (aged 13) ploughed lengths for an hour. I managed 22 lengths of the Olymipic sized pool - Phew.

Then I was taken to their home as we were going out later to someones birthday party. 

This is Afeng and her husband.

And with Angel who is in my Junior A class.

I had a great time and ate most of everything on the table - including chicken, scallops, fish, crab, 'something like frog whispered Angel', beef, 'meat', a small bird that a little girl next to me enjoyed scooping the brains out of the head - pigeon I think, smoked eel and prawns, I turned my nose up at the shredded pigs ear, some stuff in a sauce that looked like innards, fish soup that looked a bit too gloopy for me and other stuff. There are often very few vegetable options at these meals.

Me and Angel

It was a 50th birthday, held in a big room. It seems that all the guests turn up, the food is served, the birthday boy sang a karaoke , then everyone goes home!  I was home by 8:30 having drank most of the 1 bottle of wine on the table and was just getting ready to party!

I think this is lotus root - it could be white radish - it was delicious

The start of the banquet

The table soon begins to fill

Notice the Pigeon heads (which were much enjoyed by a little girl next to me)

The girls from my table - no idea who they were apart from Angel of course.  Fortunately I had taken the precaution of buying some bags of M&Ms in the expectation that some kids would be at the party. I also had some lollipops (I know it sounds like a peado kit - but when you become a source of fascination by kids who have never been in contact with a foreigner sweets break the ice)

Friday I went into Nanjing and met up with AJ, Tom and Peggy for lunch. They went back to Xianlin so I had a wander around Nanjing and then went home. 

Saturday I had my Saturday Job, so I picked up breakfast enroute - its a sort of flaky pasty called Shaobin,  with sesame seeds and some green chilli inside - very nice, just made in an oven on the street.

My Saturday desk. I met an new foreign teacher - Hudson from Washington DC, he'll be working there  full time.  It was a bit annoying as I had a 9 am class for 2 hours , then nothing until 3:45, but we had to be sat in the office and I got told off for 'napping' outside of the official napping hours of lunch time (11-13) But hey I was being paid!

In my last class I only had two girls as everyone was still on holiday

The after school, me and Hudson hot footed it over to a Japanese restuarant called Teppanyaki in the Xinjiekou area of town, which is the main shopping area. We met with AJ and other foreign teachers. Stuart who I haven't seen since I was last here, Ryan who is Tom and Peggys son (They have another here also - Matt) The two next to AJ who Ive not met before and of course Tom and Peggy, Oh and Ryans girlfriend.

We had the all you can eat buffet for 180yuan each, a bit
pricey but you get your own chef, the pick of the menu as many times as you want. So for example, I pick something and everyone gets some. Plus unlimited beer, plum wine and sake all in a private room.

 These are the bananas being flambĂ©ed before being covered in Mango ice-cream - we all had 2 servings!

Then we went to a club called The Basement

I was home by 11:30 though and that included getting the taxi home - about 40 minutes. 

Sunday, I took Snooks out on her normal exercise in the morning with her two balls and she seemed OK, but about an hour later she couldn't walk, she'd seized up completely.

I went shopping leaving her in her bed.  I bought her some cooked chicken as a treat, she managed to get up for that and got looser throughout the day - I was a bit worried, but I have found the whereabouts of two vets and have chinese friends with dogs I could turn to with a problem

Soon she was enjoying the attention

The rest of my holiday, Sunday and Monday I spent doing marking and preparation for teaching and just watching some stuff I've downloaded from the BBC. Teaching started on Tuesday. Its Wednesday now, I started writing the blog on Monday.

And now for the funny bit at the end of the news - this was in the Gents Toilet at the Mystical Healthy Swimming Club

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