In just a matter of days the following has happened…
-My friend Chris, who lives in Long Hua as well, and I strode out to the beer garden on Sunday night to meet our fellows.
-We saw two Chinese people vomit and one guy completely passed out. One Chinese man kept falling out of his chair he was so drunk. Police were patrolling the area but drunk in public is not a crime here. I told his friends that they should take him to the hospital..they laughed it off.
-My shoe got vomited on by one of these people. Thankfully I had water. I could have been warned!!
-We then decided the only way to get a cab would be striding through a construction site. Rubble, dust, glass, screws, in all of its construction glory. We also crawled through a hole to get in there. We found our way out on the other side as well! I was proud. I made it out unscathed, all vomit dusted shoes aside. [I later bleached my shoes]
The cabbie screwed us over on the ride back. He charged us about 15 dollars usd for a 25 mile cab ride. He dropped us in an unfamiliar place and my Contact Teacher, Annie, had to come to my rescue at 12:30am. I was embarrassed but she was so helpful and put me in a cab back to my hotel.
The following day I was able to move into my apartment.
It’s very old. It is 3 bedrooms with two bathrooms and nice kitchen, enormous living room with intimidating dark Chinese wooden furniture. It smells like how my Grandma’s house smelled, old books, dust, antiques.
Each room has big wardrobes filled with relics from what looks like the past 50 years. I am terrified to go rifling through these because who knows who’s living in these blankets.
I have one western toilet and one squatty potty.
My first night in my apartment I had to bathe in a bucket and a faucet. I could not figure out the shower. Later, the coordinator for my area came out and showed me to flick a lever =[ It was quite the adventure.
I ventured out to the downtown heart of ShenZhen to visit all my friends in the program. Pizza never tasted so fresh and good. We dined at NYPD next to a bar called “Expats.” Reminded me of living in France in the 1920’s …vicariously through Hemingway’s descriptions.
NYPD stands for New York Pizza Delivery. It was started by an Asian fellow from San Francisco. ShenZhen is in a “Special Economic Zone” [SEZ] so foreigners can do that. I believe there are four SEZ’s in China. You have to go through checkpoints to get into the SEZ and sometimes passports will be checked.
There are a ton of expats and foreigners in ShenZhen. Huge business city.
I had to get on the bus before 11pm otherwise I’d be stuck in the city or stuck taking an overpriced cabbie back.
First I got lost after I got off the subway and asked someone for help and her English was great. She told me that she works with Americans in ShenZhen. Anyway she got me to the right area. The bus came. I was the LAST one on the bus holding on for dear life shoved against a ton of other people who were trying to get on. The doors couldn’t even close at first i had to lean in and finally they closed. I was against the door almost the entire way home. I have never experienced such a bus ride.
The following day I was sick of my “roommates,” all the cockroaches and critters living in my kitchen. I bought bleach and raid and fumigated my kitchen. It had a stench of oil stained garlic everywhere. I got rid of that! It took me three hours. I was so happy when I finished.
There’s a big propane tank under a cabinet that I have to turn on to get my gas stove working. Otherwise I can use the electric hotplate. Both are very nice to have. It’s just a little frightening to have such a giant tank and the thought of accidentally leaving it on—that won’t ever happen.
I made eggplant, green peppers, onions, garlic with olive oil, spices, and lemon with some very yummy rice which I burned on the hot plate but turns out–singed crispy rice is pretty good! Not even joking best rice I’ve ever made. I also made guacamole. I am so happy that Chinese love cilantro and it’s easy to find and cheap. I will be cooking lots with cilantro.
My front doors probably weigh about 100 pounds each. Each key looks ridiculous. No one could ever break in here, even a locksmith! One key looks like a screwdriver and one key has secret holes in it. All my windows have bars on them. I feel incredibly safe.
Finally I’ve had a bit of normalcy. Who knows though every day in China is an adventure!
PS — Pictures are here.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/49966507@N05/