Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Haven’t posted here for a while.  Right now I’m hanging around in Shanghai, staying at a hostel until we have to leave tomorrow.  How much I post after I return depends on how busy things get, I have one last semester of college and some job searching to do, though I do have at least one draft that I want to get to (not China related, and a very belated topic).  Anyway, I will be flying out of Shanghai tomorrow, and after what is sure to be a terrible travel experience given news of even more ridiculous security procedures coming our way.  I think if there is a Hell, my own personal version would likely be being eternally stuck in the international air travel system constantly switching between impossibly long flights and never reaching a destination.

But this time I’m sure I’ll get home eventually.  See everyone there.

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Before I leave for Hong Kong I thought I would share a couple stories of Chinese people that I met since the start of my break. I felt it was important because, as I have mentioned before, our living situation at Zheda doesn’t really encourage international students to meet Chinese friends (though it doesn’t really inhibit it, it’s just that the effort has to come from you). Both of these are situations where I sort of “stumbled upon” some potential friendships.

First, I met a couple of girls at the No. 4 cafeteria. I had bought a food card and been eating at the cafeterias for a while specifically hoping that I would “bump into” some Chinese people, and it apparently worked. I’ll hold back on names just for now … well OK, their English names are King and Cherubin. We had a long conversation after dinner that covered a wide range of topics from Chinese food to Chinese and American perceptions of Mao Zedong, and today I had a long walk with Cherubin around West Lake and another long chat.

Second is a bit funnier. After I had got back from dinner that day, there was an older gentleman in the little shop inside our dorm who wanted someone to help him practice his English. At first I wasn’t so interested, but it is difficult to say no to old people in China. We talked for a while over coffee and then he invited me to dinner the next day (at a fairly fancy place, with dishes including duck tongue, hundred year old egg, and New Zealand beef). I found out that he was 53, has a son and a daughter, and that he will be retiring when he hits 60 and wants to travel to America after retirement. He also called his son-in-law, who works for local government, so I could talk to him and judge his English abilities. I didn’t spend much time with the man (who I know as Mr. Wu), but that little bit of practice did seem to do some good for his English.

Finally, I have been having conversations with the staff off and on. Some of the staff at the international dorm really like to talk to foreigners, and ask me about where I am from, etc. Of course, I will always hold that a big part of the experience of studying in Chinese in a Chinese university is communicating with non-English speaking staff. It’s essentially a certain amount of language practice that you cannot hope to avoid, even if it amounts to the laundry lady berating you for having too many clothes (more on that later, probably after Hong Kong).

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Travel Plans

OK, I was holding off on posting this until everything was settled.

Tommorrow is the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. All schools get a week off for this holiday (starting on October first, rather than covering that week, oddly). As such, I won’t have any classes until the 9th. So, I decided to travel to Hong Kong to visit some friends of mine.

I’m not leaving immediately, as I was late getting things arranged and can’t find a place to stay the first few days. Instead, I will be flying to Shenzhen on China Air Lines flight 6327 and then taking a bus on my own into Hong Kong. I normally would not travel alone, but I was unable to find anyone to go to Hong Kong with me (most are going to Beijing or Shanghai, and a lot of the "undecideds" I’ve talked to don’t have multiple-entry visas), and I have friends in Hong Kong that I haven’t seen for several years, and I’m hoping to get one of them to meet me when I get there, or at least show me around a bit (of course, I know I’ll be on my own some of the time, workers in HK don’t get the week off, though mainlanders do).

Anyway, Hong Kong friends, send me an email or MSN if you can (not sure if I can get to facebook even through Tor right now).

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