21st April 2015

Tomorrow I have my first Chinese language lesson. I hope not to make too much of a fool of myself. Now how did those tones go again………..

All my Chinese students have English names as well as their birth name, usually picked by themselves. My favourite name so far is *Cinderella* and yes she does know all about the Ugly Sisters. 

18th April 2015

………..After a couple of hours the guy on the gate waved to me and gave me a key. But not MY key. Still it was a key to an empty apartment so somewhere to sleep. I was just dozing off when I heard a familiar buzzing sound. Mosquitoes. With commendable forethought I had packed a can of repellant which was er….locked in my room. I was covered in bites by the morning and hell did they itch. ( A little Ed Miliband-speak for you there ). By lunchtime I had commandeered a student who took me to the Chinese medicine shop where they sold me a potion. Very good stuff, it smells a bit like Vick.

16th April 2015

After a few disasters I’m settling in nicely. After losing and finally regaining my luggage, I was in Shanghai and my suitcase was in Frankfurt, I got into my apartment. Its nice, when I’ve figured out how to post pictures I’ll show you. 

I got here late on a Friday and found out that Monday was a holiday, *Tomb Sweeping day* apparently, so I had three days to prepare some lessons, find the shops and generally explore. I did some work on Saturday morning and decided to have a cigarette on the shared balcony. I went to go back in and realised that I’d locked myself out of my apartment. ( Yes I know a minor inconvenience. ) I contacted admin and they said they’d send someone round with a key. 30 minutes later a Chinese guy arrived, looked at the lock, shook his head sadly and went away. I got back to Admin to be told that they would get a key to me……on Tuesday !!  Because it was the holidays natch.  It was starting to dawn on me that I was in a mess, no phone, no money, no nothing apart from a packet of fags. The American guy next door took pity on me and lent me some money and I contemplated sleeping on the balcony………..

14th April 2015

OK so the Dr advised making an appointment with the travel nurse, my first thought was I hadn’t intended to take a nurse with me, Night Nurse perhaps (I’m afraid the jokes won’t get any better); I’ve made an appointment in May so that’s sorted. Now I’m looking at Visas (see here); it seems I have to book an airline ticket in advance of getting a Visa so what if they don’t let me in? Is that money down the drain? (more…)

13th April 2015

Mark has kindly allowed me to guest on Lost In China. I’m aiming to visit him in July and I thought it would be fun to catalogue the trials and excitements on the way. Wikimedia Creative CommonsPart of the challenge will be to keep in touch with work whilst I’m halfway round the globe. So far I have spoken to my mobile phone provider (more…)

13th April 2015

I haven’t had toothache for maybe ten years. NOW it starts. I’m trying Aspirin mixed with Ibuprofen (Thanks Charlie) but I’ve got a feeling that soon I will be able to get a close up look at the state of Chinese dentistry.. I will of course report back…..

9th April 2015

Well if you’re reading this thanks for being so patient. i couldn’t blog whilst I was in China as it was attached to Twitter and the CCP aren’t exactly fond of Google for Er…some reason. I’m flying back to China tomorrow but let me tell you a bit about my month in Zhuhai on the South Coast of China ; barely a spit away from Hong Kong.

I went at least partly to get a TEFL qualification as a sort of insurance, but really I wanted to see whether I could live there. Apparently some Westerners get on the first plane back, others tolerate China and some love it. I was in the latter category. 

For the first couple of days when I got there, I couldn’t quite place what was so very different from the West. Then I realised. Downtown Zhuhai, not a big city in Chinese terms makes London in the rush hour seem quiet. Everywhere there was noise. A constant hooting of car horns was the least of it. Every tiny little shop, and there are a lot of them, had what looked like a Marshall stack Amp (If you know what that is, it dates you) outside playing music. Usually bad American music. I say bad. That awful dirge from * Titanic * seemed to be polluting the air a lot of the time but occasionally sentimentality got the better of me. The school that I was at encouraged the kids to collectively sing Karaoke style in front of a screen to improve their colloquial English. One night whilst I was sitting in a bar near the school with some teaching colleagues I heard the strains of The Carpenter’s ” It’s yesterday once more”. To hear maybe 50 Chinese kids sing ” Every sha la la, every woa wo wo ” moved me immensely. Or perhaps it was just the beer…..