Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Great Wall

Well, I don’t think I can title my entries by the week anymore as I am not doing a very good job of writing on Sundays. I will start by saying that I am beginning to feel quite official here in China. I received my ATM card for China Construction Bank and it works and as Monday was payday I actually have money there. I should have my passport back by Friday with the official work visa and as time goes on I feel as though this is feeling more like home. Well, not home… but home away from home!

On Friday night I went with some friends to a jazz bar where a jazz band was playing. The cool part was that the singer and guitar players are both teachers here at ISB. So we went to support. On Saturday morning all the new teachers were up bright and early for our first trip to the great wall. We went to a part that was built in the 600’s. Many were taking the gondola to the top but I was seeking some exercise and decided to hike. Hmm… I have never climbed so many steps all at once ever! By the time Bebe, Malcolm and I made it to the wall we were already exhausted! But then we needed to walk the wall. It was absolutely gorgeous – I really enjoyed it. Beautiful pictures – I wish I could attach some for you now. We stayed up there for a couple of hours and then took the toboggan down which proved to be exciting – especially since the girl in front of me kept stopping around curves which would force me to ram into her!

Saturday night we went into the city for authentic Chinese hotpot. They boil the water and seasoning in front of you and bring plates of vegetables, raw meats, etc. and you decide what to put into your own pot. I love the food here – love it! The only thing I have had that I didn’t like is some soups and tofu dishes with a “numbing” spice – very hot and your tongue feels like it is swelling.

On Sunday we had a girls night and went to dinner at a place called Red Rose – a Chinese muslim restaurant. We ate great Chinese and watched the belly dancers. When one man went up to dance he grabbed me to dance on the stage with him. I was a little embarrassed at first but then just decided to have fun with it. J

Tomorrow night is Open House at the school. This is a busy week because on Friday I leave for a bike trip in Mongolia and won’t be back in Beijing until midnight on Sunday.

I thought I would show you a list of the countries where my students are from. As you can imagine, it is interesting listening to them talk. Not just about themselves or their home countries but all of the different accents as well. Some of the teachers tease that if I was teaching higher level math classes I’d have less Americans – I have to constantly remind them that at least we have REAL sports. I have already seen and heard enough about cricket for a lifetime!!! Check it out, keep in touch and as always – I’m missin you!

Australia 7
Brazil 1
Canada 4
China-Hong Kong 2
China-Taiwan 1
Cuba 1
France 2
Germany 3
Ireland 1
Italy 2
Japan 1
New Zealand 1
Norway 2
Pakistan 1
Philippines 2
Singapore 4
South Korea 3
Switzerland 1
UK 10
USA 29
Zimbabwe 1


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