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5/03/07 - The Water Shop and the Sheep's Testicle

I’m having quite a lot of fun here, as well as some quite interesting experiences. For example, just now I’ve had a good old chin wag with a guy who works at the internet cafe I’m at. The conversation consisted of him saying a lot of Chinese at me while I just replied, confidently, “bu dong” (“I don’t understand”) and “wode Zhongwen bu hao” (“My Chinese is not good”) and “duibuqi” (“Sorry”). One of my more common conversations. I think I’m fitting in well.

My apartment is now clean(er) and my shower is now fixed, so I am also now clean(er). We shall pick up the story of my adventure on Thursday morning when Wang Ying (female) met me to show
me around the local area, etc.

The Water Shop

We first went to a water shop that only sells water for dispensers, the kind you see in offices. I have one in my apartment and my arrival in the shop seemed to prompt all the half a dozen staff to crowd around. I paid for 12 containers in advance, which should last me a century or two, but then it came to the problem of me letting them know when I run out so they could bring one up. None of them spoke any English and my Chinese isn’t fluent quite yet. In the end, it was decided that seeing as I am their only foreign customer, whenever I need some more water, I just call them and say “A B C D”. Obviously, this won’t make me feel at all stupid.

Timetable

On Friday, I had a meeting in the institute at which I received my timetable. Its worked out very well in that I only have 8 classes of 1 hour 40 minutes a week and I have Fridays off. Also, my first class on a Monday is at 7pm so there’s loads of potential for long weekends whenever I want.

Venturing into the city centre

I also ventured into the centre of Beijing on Friday, which was quite an adventure. I was meant to be meeting Nashy on Tiananmen Square but unsurprisingly the rendez-vous failed. However, the trip illustrated the fact that it takes between 45 minutes and an hour to get to the centre of Beijing. It sounds a long time but the journey isn’t too bad as long as you’re not travelling at rush hour.

Lambs Testicles

I did however manage to meet Bob in town on Saturday and it was great to see a friendly face. However, my feelings very quickly changed when he suggested we go a restaurant. A perfectly reasonable suggestion, you are thinking. However, it was a restaurant that sells food from the Xinjiang Province of China which meant that soon I was eating Chicken Hearts and Sheep Testicles. Yummy. Actually, they were quite nice and I wish Bob hadn’t told me what I was about to eat. I think he just enjoyed watching me squirm.

Snow on Tiananmen Square

We then went and played pool in a Japanese restaurant, an obvious thing to do in Beijing, and then watched football (the United-Liverpool game) in a pub and drunk beer, another very Chinese activity. Later that evening we played poker for pretty much worthless Chinese money while outside it began to snow. We realised it was settling so at around 3am, it seemed like the best plan was to go and have a snow fight in the car park and get a (very cheap) taxi to Tiananmen Square to see it covered in fresh snow. Needless to say, we’d all fallen asleep by the time the taxi arrived at the square so we just turned
round and went home.

The following day we had Peking Duck for lunch, which was delicious and I returned to my flat to start the big clean up.

Today is monday and my first class is this evening. The text books haven’t arrived so they told me just to introduce myself and basically just talk about me, a subject I’ve lectured many people on before, including in this blog. I’m pretty nervous but what’s the worst that can happen…..!? Its best not to think.

Congratulations if you’ve made it to this part of the blog without nodding off. I like to keep you informed. I hope you are all happy and well.

Until next time, “zaijian” (“bye”)!

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