Military Drills, Unexpected French Conversation

Trip Start Aug 13, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of China  , Hunan,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So this morning, I wanted to run a bit on the track to get my day started, however, I was unable to use the track, as there were probably hundreds of students there, doing some kind of drill. Around the track and on the basketball courts, there were groups of 40-50 students who were all in lines, marching in step and overlooked by men in military uniform. Morning exercise? I'm not sure. Discipline drills? Early military training? I really don't know. I was dressed in a white t-shirt and blue shorts and the students had on white shirts and blue sweat pants. I was afraid one of the men in military uniform would spot me and think I was a student trying to avoid the drills. Luckily, this didn't happen, although it'd be kind of amusing if it had. Because I couldn't use the track, I ended up watching the drills for a while. They had some kind of inspirational (patriotic?) music playing in the background, as these kids practiced jogging and marching in step.
    After this interesting morning and lunch, I went with Andrew and Dennis downtown to go to a bookstore. I wanted to buy an English-Chinese dictionary and did find one. While we were on the bus though, we met this guy who also was going to the bookstore and he spoke a little bit of English. He also spoke some French, which was interesting. He kept saying "oui" instead of "yes," and then later asked if we spoke French. I said I did-- and tried to talk to him in French but I think his French was worse than his English. It was kind of funny though, speaking French for the first time in several months-- in China.
    So I besides my Chinese-English dictionary, I bought this book on 1000 frequently used Chinese Characters. I think it will be quite useful. Learning Mandarin is going to take quite a bit of work,but I'm really getting into it. I need to start lesson planning though. Apparently, the teachers from World Teach need to submit lessons plans to their organization by tomorrow. Anyway, that's really all for today.
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