First few days in Wenzhou
Trip Start Aug 23, 2010
39Trip End Jul 15, 2011
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So here I am again. Different city, but lots of familiar things. That said, it is amazing how different things can be a relatively short distance from Suzhou. This city is much less geared towards foreigners so many of the western stores and restaurants that we had in Suzhou are absent here. There are a few of those things in certain areas of town, but not nearly as much. My neighborhood is actually pretty cool. It is a funky little area about 10 minutes bike ride from the School. It is nice to live in an apartment that is surrounded by handy shops and services this time. I have a bank right on the corner, convenience stores everywhere, a foot massage place across the street, a bakery, mobile phone store, and a few little restaurants (including a pizza joint!) all within a block or two. There are also plenty of streetside watermelon vendors as well for some reason. The biggest surprise so far is how nice the accommodations are for the teachers. I have a two bedroom apartment that is relatively modern. I have my own washing machine, balcony, a big wall mounted flatscreen television, DVD player, full kitchen, dining room, couches, 3 heater/air conditioning units, laminate flooring, a PC, and internet connection, and other furniture. I even have (dozens) of plants and a huge fish tank that much to my surprise came with fish food and 9 gold fish and 2 suckers! I guess I have plenty of living things to accompany me here! Three other teachers live in the same complex as me, and one of them is my nextdoor neighbor.
As far as the school is concerned, it is a fairly big campus, located at the far East side of town, right next to the big river. The town is actually located about 20 kilometers up the river from the ocean..so I look forward to bike rides out to the sea from time to time. My classroom is on the 5th floor, so a bit of a hike to class compared to last year, but luckily our staff room/offices just moved up to the 4th floor from ground level...but unfortunately we had to move it on Saturday!
The staff seems really nice, but it is a little unbalanced gender wise. We have about 16 teachers, of which 14 are dudes. My principal is a good guy, a Lanny Macdonald look alike, and the vice principal is a guy named Wayne. I have nicknamed them Gretz and Lanny already...they don't seem to mind. One of the teachers organized a team building event which was pretty fun...as wel as useful. We teamed up into groups of four (two foreign teachers, two Chinese staff) and did a scavenger hunt around the city. We had two hours to find all sorts of different stores, tourist attractions, and random other things (guys with their bellies hanging out of their shirts, guys peeing on a wall, etc). Part of the mission was to take a picture of all four of us in front of each spot, and to try to get a business card from each spot. These business cards were then pooled into a collection so we now had a bank of handy places to go to when we
Wenzhou itself is not as nice of a city to live in compared to Suzhou, but really, I dont think many cities in China would be. All in all though, I think it will be just fine. Here are just a few pictures of the apartment, school, and a few spots around town from the scavenger hunt. Until next time...