Sunday, 8 December 2013


Friday morning exercise

Well December is upon us and even the Chinese are infected by the Christmas virus.  The weather is getting colder here and I've been using the AC in my room to blow hot air, and its pretty good so my rooms are warm. We had a bit of a hiccup with the shower. There was never any hot water in the morning and Stephen and I have had been complaining for about 2 months. We were told to shower in the evening, because the water was being heated by solar power, but we insisted we wanted showers in the morning, plus on the dull days the water was barley tepid.  They eventually fixed it. They did have elec trice heaters, but first they just were not working properly and second they had to change the timer so the water heated for us in the morning.  So now we have nice hot water. Its actually a local law. The local government is involved in our contracts and they stipulate what schools have to provide for foreign teachers, so we had them over a barrel a little bit.

So whats been happening in my part of the world? Early on in the month we all visited Teppenyaki again. About 10 of us and I met some people that I had briefly met the last time I was here, they were still working for the same agency that I had bailed out on.

  Steve and Nikki, Tom and Peggy
 I can't remember their names
 Its a lot of meat!
 These are the bananas being sautéed
 Tom and Peggy, my good friends.

As I mentioned Christmas is coming to China, this is my Saturday job school, already putting the trimmings up around mid-november!

The last few weeks or so have been a bit tough Ive had a cold, I fell over again and really need to have a massage as my little finger is a little numb, I may have trapped a nerve or something and this last week Ive had a cough and a bad chest but life goes on.

We had an office get together, a office hotpot.  This was strictly illegal as far as school policy goes, but the teachers blamed it on us, by telling the boss it was Stephens birthday.  As usual it didn't kick off until after 9pm which is when the Chinese teachers finish work.

Jerry and Sheri filling the pot

Ann and Cosmo chopping, Stephen stirring...

Towards the end of November I was asked to give a guest lecture to about 120 students at Southeast University which is a pretty good university in these parts. Obviously it was Sociology and I got paid.  I think it went well and I hope to be asked back.

And then Thanksgiving was upon us. So the usual bash had been organised by Tom and Peggy our two most favourite Americans at the Blue Marlin in Xianlin  and a good time was had by all.

AJ turned out as expected!

Stephen with his Turkey dinner!

Stuart and his wife Joanna

Joanna and Ricks girlfriend
 Me and Joanna (Stuarts wife remember!)
 Snooks in bed with my new settee cover!
 We also finally got the right sized (well maybe a bit big) clothes for Snooky She'll be warm when it gets very cold here!

Now the weather has got a bit chilly, people have now started wearing their pyjamas out to the shops!

Over the past week or so the pollution levels here in Nanjing have shot sky high, at times the scale has been over 300 times the normal reading.  The whole landscape has been blanked by a white smog/fog. The advice has been to wear protection. This hasn't helped my bad chest a lot and Ive stayed in as much as possible. So no running. But even staying in can't help that much, I mean you still have air in your rooms.  And the classrooms are not sealed at all and open out onto the outside, not internal corridors. 

But hey the acers are set off nicely against the foggy background.

This Sunday we were told to be in the office at 9:30 am as we were going to have a 'Party' and some 'Fun' - well as you can imagine we begrudgingly said OK. Both Stephen and I feel we have to keep our end up, and show willing. This is a good school and they treat us very week so it behoves us to fit in with their plans. But they often don't tell us until the last minute about something that is happening. And 9:30 on a Sunday seemed a bit much, especially for Stephen who is younger and Saturday night is his party night.

Anyway at 9:30 we were herded into a coach and taken to this sort of country park about an hour away.  The pollution was so bad we couldn't see any of the countryside we travelled through.

Then of course the 'fun' started. This consisted of a series of speeches delivered by our bosses in Chinese.  You can see how much my colleagues were enjoying it. The teacher in the foreground had to get up at 6 to make it back to school on her day off.

Then we had a walk around the grounds in the pollution
 We saw a boat

And walked some more

Then we saw some nice deer in pens. Plus some horses in the stables

And then Lunch.

These formal banquet style lunches are an experience. Here we have arrayed before us the main big bosses of the School including in the white shirt the owner. So these guys are connected. Probably members of the Party.  There is a lot of cock swinging when it comes to these dinners. Lots of alcohol is consumed in toasts. Im more and more quantities. Notably a fiery sprit called Bijou. Which in the style of Vodka is swilled back in one. Although the glasses are very small. But you are served it in little jugs, and soon the jugs become the drinking vessel. Along with the cry of 'Gambay' which means down in one! And to save face everyone has to keep up.  Fortunatly we foreigners don't give a f%$& about face so we don't really get involved. Just drinking enough to be respectful. 

Im not a great fan of the food either at these banquets. A lot of offal, and intestines and fat. Roosters claws are popular. One has to pick carefully.  Rice or Noodles often come to the table very late in the proceedings as a filler. I can't say that I enjoyed much of this banquet, i had some prawns, some chicken soup, some vegetables and some noodles.

 So of course back on the coach most of the teachers were pretty tipsy!

It sort of turned out to be a nice trip. I took some great photos which I'll upload later. The country park place was pretty good, it was a nice walk despite the pollution and the meal was fun! 

And as ever the school was pretty generous with another big gift of fruit and nuts.

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