First and foremost everyone should check out the book, “China Underground.” It’s by an American journalist who explores China’s gritty “underground world. Zachary Mexico. It paints a raw picture of what’s really going on here in China’s culture. I was finally able to start reading it on the bus this afternoon. I had a two hour bus-ride from Shekou [one of the borders between Hong Kong and ShenZhen]. It was a long bus ride home and I am fifty pages in, already.
This week has been eventful yet not eventful. Lia, the headmaster’s daughter helped me formulate my first lesson. I will still not be teaching tomorrow. I won’t know when I will be teaching, nor any type of schedule. Last week, while meeting with Lia, the headmaster asked me if I liked badminton…
Immediately I remembered when I first picked up the racket. It was in our backyard. We had a net and my mom loved playing with us. We would play for hours before sunset, after dinner. I remember getting so good. Maybe this influenced my lacrosse. At any rate I flash-forward to the last time I had actually played. I remember four years ago being in Beijing and seeing some young kids playing in the street outside my dorm. I asked if I could play and of course they let me.
So now four years later I was super excited to play. So the headmaster had his private driver drive me to my estate to put on proper playing clothes then we went to the courts. The gym was sweaty and humid only 3 blocks from me! The smell of smoke lingered–since of course there were ashtrays in there! Headmaster and I started off slow he realized it had been awhile. I did pick it up fast but I could tell he was bored. I couldn’t smash it.
So more teachers from my school arrived along with Headmaster’s younger brother “didi,” –younger brother in Chinese. Even the driver who we all called wushu taishan “kung fu panda,” played. We called the driver this because looks like a tall big boy with a rotund stomach with a very cheerful disposition. The basketball coach gave me a private lesson in badminton and was very patient with me. He showed me the proper technique and exactly how to smash it. I got a few smashes in but it was very difficult. I think people would be surprised at what a work out badminton is. The following day I have never felt so bruised and sore in my life!
After two hours of badminton with five minute rests, we hustled off to eat some spicy food! Little did I know the headmaster would get me drunk!
When we arrived more teachers from the school were there and they were all so welcoming and happy to see me. They wanted me to order about five dishes that I wanted to share with everyone. I had no idea what to order. I just love eggplant and vegetables! The meat usually has bones and fat so I don’t eat too much of that.
So two more hours and plenty of pijiu later we were learning English, learning Chinese, and cheering! I didn’t get “drunk.” in front of everyone but I definitely had a healthy buzz. The headmaster was very proud of me for being able to drink beer so well. They gave some very nice toasts and then I toasted everyone for being so kind and welcoming to me!
Following that evening I slept in and later ventured to Shekou to see my friend Christy. Like my school, hers has no idea what to do with her! So we went to “sea-world” in Shekou–just a big expat area with many western yummies. We found a Mexican restaurant which was pretty expensive. I just got an appetizer–chalupas! Queso was microwaved. It contained parmesan, cheddar, and american cheese, mixed with some jalapeños and beef. It was okay…I was happy just to have some cheese and chips!
I lured Christy to Long Hua. We found a pretty good bus right from her stop to a stop a block away from my estate. I was very happy to find this bus.
Riding any bus in China is quite an adventure. On the way down to Shekou I swear my bus went airborne bumpin’ down country dirt roads. It picked people up right off the highway in the dirt and mud. I noticed a man with a wheel-barrow on his back pedaling sliced open giant pig carcasses — kicking up all the China juice and dirt!
Christy and I got back to LongHua late and stayed up watching Kat Williams. It was nice and I realized how big my bed is…we could have slept one more person in it quite comfortably!
The following day we met with Lia and the headmaster. He awarded us with all sorts of gifts! He gave me a really nice badminton racket! He then gave us some dried apple cutlets and China’s finest tea you could ever have. Headmaster used to be a Chinese teacher so he will practice Chinese with me. He’s a great teacher. My Chinese is totally improving. I am learning more and more each day.
I met up with Annie my contact teacher to see if I had a schedule yet. She had great news, she’s having a baby! She’s thirty and is very baby hungry so I am happy for her. Of course I still don’t have a school schedule though.
Christy and I walked back to my home and ventured through all the side-street back-alley restaurants and vendors. It was fun. We found one can-opener in all the stores but it was too expensive and the lady’s were rude, wouldn’t even bargain.
We went out for eggplant and dumplings earlier in the day and in the evening we had some noodles. We went to my local mall and got pedicures and manicures. The little place is owned by three sisters and their “didi” was visiting. He spoke pretty good English so we were talking and laughing and learning Chinese and English or “Chinglish” as usual. He wants to be a beautician like his sisters. Christy didn’t wear flip flops so I ran over to the supermarket and bought some shower shoes for her. Shower shoes are one of the best things China has here! I am very thankful for shower shoes! The nail place offered some flip flops for about three USD. They would give Christy her money back if she returned them later. [who returns flippy floppys?] At the supermarket shower shoes were only fifty cents.
So we went home and now I’m addicted to “Sex and the City.” I never understood it when I was younger but Christy got me watching it!
The following day we went to Dongmen which is in downtown ShenZhen, Luohu. It has good shopping. I wanted to get a bigger purse and Christy did too. I also needed a belt. We met up with Eliza and had noodles. Then found really fun purses for about 6 USD each. I found a belt for about 2 USD. Not bad at all.
Finally we made it back to Shekou and watched the first Sex and the City movie. Afterwards, we went outside Christy’s apartment and found her neighbors at like two in the morning.
The neighbors spoke Cantonese so they woke up Christy’s other neighbor Daisy who spoke English, Mandarin and Cantonese and we chatted for about thirty minutes. It was pretty funny we all decided to do karaoke sometime. One of them put on a charade that he drove a bus and Christy interpreted his charade as cowboy and tried trashing it, he caught on and we all started laughing about cowboys shooting guns and bringing cattle home.
Today we went to church and had subway, pretty uneventful.
I finally went through more of my wardrobes, I found some great floor mats. I thankfully haven’t see anymore geckos. But we’ll see!