A Travellerspoint blog

July 2013

Last Day in Mainland China

Today was the last day we will be in Mainland China. We will be heading to Hong Kong tomorrow. Today we spent the last day shopping at the "silk market" as they call it. There were about 7 floors of everything you could ever need. Clothes, shoes, jewelry, purses, suitcases, food, etc. The tour bus dropped us off and we were to find our way back. Clara and I took the subway back when we got tired. I got several pairs of shoes for Kevin, a couple of pairs for myself, a shirt, and more jewelry, mostly for people that asked for it.

I've been relaxing since I got back, but Carlos just came and wants me to pay up on the dinner I owe him. We bet on the election and Romney lost. Darn it. A bunch of us are going to the famous Beijing Duck restaurant around the corner in a minute.

Yesterday we went to Tiannamen Square, The Forbidden City, a pearl market, and then at night we went to a crazy night market. It was like the one is Xi'an. There was so many weird things to eat, bugs, sugar coated fruit, all kinds of foods I didn't even know what they were. I tried the fruit and had a small bite of tarantula, which was so nasty!

At 10PM that market shut down. It was amazing how quick it closed down. We went to get cabs and they were trying to charge us triple so we talked to the police but they didn't want to help out. We ended up taking the subway and then walking back to the hotel at midnight. Crazy.

Tomorrow it is off to Hong Kong!

Posted by dianeski4 04:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

Last day in Suzhou- Closing ceremonies

sunny 90 °F

Today was the last day of the 2013 Summer Camp in Suzhou, China. We only taught 3 classes today, and one of them was only 10 minutes long. The kids were really excited to be going home today after being here for 2 weeks.
We had lunch at the school. I couldn’t eat it anymore. Still having bathroom issues. We then gathered and went up to the cafeteria where over a 1000 students and their parents were gathered for the program. We had to parade in and wave and smile. We were the stars. We sat up in front and the program began with speeches and we had to get up on stage and receive a gift from the school.
Then all the different classes put on plays and songs. I had one class perform the play, “Caps for Sale”. Then my other class sang I love summer. The program went on for about 2 hours. The teachers performed the last dance number. It was lots of fun.

Bathroom adventures at the school.
Bring your own toilet paper. Find an empty stall. They have no locks on the door, so you either hold the door shut with one hand, or leave the door open like the Chinese do. I prefer to hold the door shut. But that leaves one hand for all the business. Squat as low as you can. Do your business while watching it splatter the floor. Wipe and deposit the toilet paper into the garbage can next to you. No flushing toilet paper. Carefully stand up. Flush. Carefully leave the stall without slipping. And believe me, slipping in there is NOT pleasant. Wash your hands, and luckily at the school this year there is soap!

Last night I went and did my last dancing on the street with my women friends. I went home with Ling Ping after. I had tried to tell her in sign language that I had already had noodles, but either she didn’t understand or she thought I needed more food. So she fixed me up a bowl of rice, pork, soybeans and mushrooms. It tasted good, but I really wasn’t hungry. Her granddaughter and friend came and translated for us. Ling Ping also emailed me a copy of the new Chinese song that they had been learning. Then it was time to go. I cried when I left her. I was walking home with tears and her granddaughter rode her bike down to find me and told me to “Be happy” and “Welcome to China.” I will miss the women and the dancing. They were so kind.

After the program we went to a restaurant for the farewell dinner. The regular 20 course dinner, and drinking like you wouldn’t believe. The Chinese seem to think that the more they can get you to drink, the better. There wasn’t just the regular beer, there was hard liquor. I watched one lady put the cup on her tongue so she wouldn’t have to taste it.
This morning there are several people with hangovers. So glad I don’t do that. I feel great!

We are heading off to Xian this morning. Driving 3 hours back to Shanghai and taking a plane to Xian.

Posted by dianeski4 17:49 Archived in China Comments (0)

July 15th It's Monday

sunny

Only had to teach a half day at school today. We were working on body parts. They are really good at the common ones like head, mouth, ears, but the ones like tongue, thigh, heel, wrist, they don't know. I taught the 3rd grade for two sessions, and the 4th for one session. During the 3rd grade they came and took our photos. I had a couple of girls hanging on me and rubbing my arms. But when I asked them if they wanted to come home with me they said oh no, they have to stay in Suzhou. It was pretty cute.

Here's the clothes washing experience.

In the morning when I shower I do laundry. I strip down and throw yesterday's outfit into the sink to soak. Shower, then scrub the clothes. Then wring them out. While I'm dressing the sink drains, cause it takes forever. Then I throw them back in the sink and let them soak and rinse while I finish dressing. Then wring out the clean clothes and hang them over the tub. There is a clothes line there. I prefer to keep up on wash every day rather than have it hanging all over the room. The undies dry overnight, but my other clothes take 2 days cause of the humidity.
They do not have clothes dryers in China. At least not in individual homes and apartments.

We have 2 days left of teaching. One full day tomorrow, then a half day and the performance and closing ceremony. There will be a farewell dinner also. The time has gone super fast.

Posted by dianeski4 01:06 Archived in China Comments (1)

Suzhou

115 °F

Thursday July 11, 2013

Today is our day off after teaching for 6 days. We are half way thru! Can’t believe how fast the time is going. I’m loving it here in China. It’s nonstop action with always a new adventure in store.

There is a teacher at the school, American, who came to the hotel and took us out to a beautiful cathedral. We walked to the subway, took it, then walked to a bus station and took it and then walked to a beautiful park near a lake. It was 100 degrees, but the weather app said it felt like 115 degrees. We were sweating and sweating. There were a lot of brides and grooms there taking bridals. They were also sweating so much. It was so beautiful there. Green, and not many people.

We decided that we would skip the rest of what we were going to do and come back to the hotel. We took a bus all the way back for 2 RMB, about 32 cents. When we got back we walked down to the bakery and KFC for lunch. It was again, so hot.

I’ve been teaching the same things to both classes, but the 4th grade is much higher in their abilities, so we can cover more. We have been working on weather and all that goes with the different seasons. Cindy gave me an art project where they draw a tree for each season and then decorate it with different things to represent the seasons. For Summer they sponge painted green paint, for autumn I had torn up fall colored construction paper into small pieces and they glued them on. For winter it will be cotton balls and for spring flowers. On the back of the paper, before we do the project they write the vocabulary words. I have powerpoints and songs that go with the different seasons.

Everyday after work the school provides some type of trip. Most the times it’s to different shopping areas. The other day we went out to an embroidery area. There are many “factories” where women sit with needles and thread and make intricate pictures. We met a very famous lady and her work was anywhere from $50,000-$500,000 each. Beautiful work, but surely not in any of our price ranges.
I did find a similar piece at a market framed for about 16$.

Last night I went out near the hotel where the ladies were dancing and danced with them. Ling Ping wasn’t there, but Sue Ann was. They are all nice to me and even though I look pretty stupid, I did my best. They were learning a new song. The teacher had her daughter there who spoke English and she told me they won a national competition last year. Because my friends speak so little English I didn’t knot that.

I love being here and experiencing so many different things. There are of course some things that drive me crazy. The heat, the toilets, the dirty air, the incredible traffic, but it’s all interesting.

Posted by dianeski4 03:12 Archived in China Comments (1)

School at Suzhou

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Third day of teaching! This morning I had the grade 3 class. We spent time with Brown Bear Brown Bear again. They are making their own mini books following the pattern. I also had a lot of picture of animals and I would give characteristics of an animal and they would guess what it was. Because Brown Bear has colors in it we also covered colors. I had brought trix cereal and gave them each a small cup of them. We talked about cereal and that kids eat it with milk. I had them make a graph with their cup of it and count it and write it. Then they all went and got milk to put in it. I didn't expect that and it was pretty funny.

They went swimming after. So funny. They are in really shallow water but they all have floaties on. Time to try some more lunch. Oh, and it's Chinese....my stomach is not liking it.

Posted by dianeski4 20:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

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