Workin' hard in the PRC!

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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What I did

Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Thursday, September 1, 2011

After a late night of celebrating the lack of needed heart surgery,  I still managed to get up around 9:30 and spent an hour or two drinking tea and checking messages.   I had a meeting scheduled for 1:30 at the University,  so I left at noon to look at an E-Bike and get some food.

    Very tired of Zhejiang Province food,  it's fishy, boney, tasteless, slimy,  and soupy.   I don't like it.   The Muslim place is decent for a noodle place,  the pressed chicken was decent,  and the greasy flat bread with herbs and egg is decent.   Nothing else really does it for me.   I would give a hundred dollars for a McDonalds right now.  I heard of a Mickey "D"s at the hotel Ibis,  but it wasn't one.  Just something that they named their cafe I guess.   I am going to break down tomorrow and hit the old Burger King and possibly the Pizza Hut.    An Indian restaurant would be great!  Doesn't India share a border with China?  Nope,  no Indian food in all of Xiasha.  There is one international food place I haven't been to,  but after hearing about the $50 steaks there,  I am no longer interested.   I will go there tomorrow night because I hear that many teachers from other schools will be meeting up there. 

   I guess I need to buy some stuff and start doing my own cooking.  Sad thing is that the tiny kitchen sink is cold water only,  maybe I can spray down the dishes in the shower/toilet/washing machine drain room,  and blow all the food bits on the same floor that gets my whiskers,  washing machine spooge, and other particles that I hesitate to mention.  Just cooking some one pot curries would be ok,  I can find all the ingredients for that.   I want to make scrambled eggs,  but don't want the clean up... and since they don't date the eggs here...  I don't want any embryonic surprises either.   

So I test drove a massive fast looking electric scooter today.   Turns out to be another slow moving child's toy which I don't want nor want to protect from theft.   Looks like me and lil winky the folding bike are going to be best friends for a while,  at least until I can find a flying pigeon.   

All the places near campus were Chinese food places,  most without pictures so I didn't have breakfast or lunch,  I did eat a half of a small watermelon on the grounds of some unknown university that I thought was Zhejiang Sci-Tech.   Something about the entrance didn't sit right with me while I was eating my melon in the campus shade.   So while eating I got on the internet and looked at a picture of Zhejiang's main campus building,  and it wasn't the same one I was eating in front of.   So I threw away the rest of the melon and realized I only had 20 minutes before the meeting (important meeting,  like with the University President or something),  so I went back to the guard at the main entrance and showed him the card my Foreign expert assistant gave me.  He pointed the direction I was to go and I flew off to the east like a liberal at a Tea Party rally,  pumping my little bike as fast as I could.   Luck would have it that my school was next door and a mere 1/2 mile away.  The best part was that the building I needed to find was right by the entrance and I casually walked into the meeting room with ten minutes to spare.   The weather has really cooled down in the past three weeks and I was barely even sweating.  

  The meeting was mainly an introductory,  I got to meet my teachers aide,  seems like a nice enough fellow,  I was also assigned a student helper.    My first question was about where to find Western (or Indian) food,  their answer was "Hangzhou",  which is a two hour round trip depending on what scary-assed form of transportation you were willing to take.   The bus is a better choice than a taxi for safety and cost reasons.   I am still dreaming about the subway line HZ is building to Xiasha,  but that won't happen for a few more months.   I'd rather take an E-bike but can't find one I would take that long drive on.  So I ask my two aides another tough question:  Where to find an English map of Hangzhou?   "Google" was the answer I received. I know my two assistants will help me eventually,  but they're currently batting a 0.00.  It is nice how important and respectful I am being treated by the University,  I get my own office and everything!  I didn't check it out yet,  I was too busy trying to track down some food. Besides, finding,  then hanging around the office will make a perfect mission for me to go on tomorrow!

    Maybe I can decorate the place with copies of my College diploma,  then buy a golf putter and a ball return device if I have the room.   I am really starting to like this job and I haven't even worked yet.  I also got my AV card,  meal card (hope the cafeteria food is good),  bank of China card (with 5 bucks in the account which I have to pay back),  and keys to my office and the classroom. 

Sat on my front porch to smoke a Havana (yeah, nice to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Communism by smoking a real Havana cigar from Cuba.)   God it is heaven here!     

While enjoying my Havana,  I heard the distinct voice of a fellow Southerner yelling to her husband on the phone.    I knew the voice of one of my co workers from Atlanta so I reintroduced myself and got in a night of partying with another person who speaks the language of the Southland.  Her husband is a physics teacher in Hangzhou,  so they have two apartments, which seems like a bit of a waste of money. They were fun to party with and both had interesting lives.  Nice to have folks like them around.  Went back home but too late to practice the sax, so I am now on here relating my story.  

Today is now Saturday 9-03-11:   Didn't leave the house until Noon,  next door neighbor wanted to get a bike like mine,  so we went to the bike shop.  While they were getting her bike ready I went to the shop next door for some good ole' noodles and celery with a leg of chicken,  that I'm always talking about.   Actually,  they was pretty good (minus-the long boiled celery stalks) the noodles were home made and the chicken leg had some flavor for a change.   Not bad for $1.50 and it was more than I could finish.   Afterwards I took the neighbor on a very long bike ride (I got lost really),  but we discovered a bayou with a granite path meandering along it,  can't believe not a single person was around a place as beautiful as this.   Even made it out to the country and saw some corn fields and stuff.   We did find our destination which was a large open air mall with third world looking butcher shops,  fish venders,  turtle vendors,  and lots of veggies and seaweed and stuff.   I opted to buy a peking duck still nearly black from the smoke,  it was about 5 bucks but should last for a couple days.  I need to get some rice for the old rice cooker,  then I will really be living the high life!

9 Pm now,  and still haven't eaten the Peking Duck.  I will be eating her soon but I want to be really hungry when I mao down on that yummy chit!   It's just sitting in my fridge all alone, covered in chopped onions, garlic,  and some like of Chinese duck sauce,  just calling to me to put it in the microwave.     I might wait and have it for breakfast since it's pure protein.   I did pay 5 bucks for it,  so its a special meal.   Xiasha is really a cheap place to live compared to the main city of HZ.   Here an excellent cup of americano is a mere 80 pennys,  in HZ it;s about 3 bucks.  

 Only an hour away but a much nicer,  and slower pace of life here.   It would be fast paced by American standards,  but slow for Chinese standards.   I can;t believe the lovely 3 mile long fully landscaped bayou with granite sidewalks with polished curbs,  and not an F-ing soul around to enjoy it but me.  Nope,  Chinese want to be working, eating, shopping, studying, anything but wasting time in a beautiful space such as that.   Hell,  seems like we need to import some Mexicans over here,  they love taking their families to parks and stuff.

After many days of only seeing Chinese people walking the sidewalks,  I saw two big African students walking toward me the opposite direction,  but there were many other people going all directions on various forms of transportation.   I did manage to extend a hand to slap one of them a "Five",  but I almost wrecked afterward,  paying more attention to the slap than the idiots writhing about in front of me.   They were equally as happy to see me as well.   I'm sure we will meet again since 7 feet tall black dudes and giant white monsters should easily recognize each other in a city such as this.

Ok, back to the present time of Midnight:   I managed to get half a duck down,  pity they use so much salt and chop the entire thing up in bits and slivers.   Next time I will ask them not to cut it.   I want a whole leg,  not bits and bone splinters in my leg.  But the Chinese prefer not to waste anything.   They eat the bones and all.  I do admire this.
Managed to practice the Buescher Signet for 30 minutes.  It's Saturday night but I stopped before ten PM.   I can play very softly with this horn,  which is necessary in a crowded cement apartment where sound carries through the stone.   I am getting to know and love this sax,  much easier to control than the great jazz horn I left at home.  My skills are quickly returning but I still have far to go before I can perform.   I hope to start playing with others after winter break if not sooner.

Very cool weather in the Shanghai area,   70's all evening and I sat on the porch smoking another Commie cigar,  listing to the children play 5 floors down while watching the fog roll in from the not so distant sea.   This is the time I love.   Night!    I never go out at night much but love to sit at home and think.  I also write,  study,  internet research, and cook.  My mind will think of a myriad of concepts and ideas at this time.   I will go through all the experiences of the day and try to make sense of it all somehow.  Generally I'll play some "Lady Day" and "John Coltrane",   even going down to Elton John and most recently the band known as "Cake".   Just thinkin' and jammin'  puts me in my happy place.   Now after half a duck and a shot of :Biajou" time for a happy sleep.   Tomorrow I have to go to Hangzhou (Hong jo is the way the Chinese say the name of the city).   Peace to you all.



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Joanne on

It's nice you will have an office. Are your cafeteria meals free? Hopefully, they'll be good. Sounds great so far!

Samantha Belicek on

Just want to say that I love reading your entries and experiencing China in the only way I currently can! Keep 'em coming!

albarnes on

Thanks Sam, hope your teaching year is going well!

albarnes on

Thanks Joanne, and no the meals will not be free, but probably cheap as heck. Like fifty cents or so.

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