Adapting to a foreign country

Not much having happened since yesterday I tought I would write about some of the main differences between England and China. The first one that springs to mind is that of the weather. It has been boiling hot so far and even the torrential rain we had while travelling from HK to China was a nice 26 degrees or so… The hardest thing to get straight in your mind about this is not that it is hot but that when you are inside it is actually colder than it is outside. I still can’t shake the habit of wanting to put on some extra clothes before braving the outside weather conditions and then feeling shocked when the temperature rises by 10-15 degrees when I step out of the door!

Another difference is in the shops. The same as happened the other day in the department store seems to be common practice. I went into a shop to buy a pack of playing cards (costing $2.50 which is something like 16 pence) and took it to counter 1 whereby the woman filled out the order form in triplicate and gave me a slip to take the the cashier. After I had paid, I had to go back and sign a copy of the form and could then collect my pack of playing cards. This needless bureaucracy seems to be China’s answer to unemployment.

The food is very very good although horribly fattening. As we are VIPs here we eat seperately (although that will change when the children come) so is is probably the equivalent of a formal hall every day, if not better. We usually get served perhaps 7 food dishes plus soup and rice and also one or two pudding dishes – usually watermellon or mango, althought we have, on occasion, had dishes such as toffie-fried bananas and deep-fried apple. Mmmmmmmm! The rest of the food has been quite interesting although we’ve not yet been presented with noted dishes local dishes such as those containing dog or cat. In HK some of us had turtle-shell jelly. Tasty… Ruth’s guidebook had a traditional saying about the food of this region which goes “They eat anything with legs except a table, anything which flies except an airoplane and anything in the sea except a submarine.” From what the locals tell me this is very accurate. I eagerly await…


Greetings from China!

Just in a school outside Shen Zhen and it’s really nice and hot. We were in HK for a few days getting toi know each other. Lots of photos from there and I will put them up on the internet if I am able however the internet connection we ahve at the school here seems quite slow. Ah well!

HK was wonderful although when we all went into the middle of the city I was very tired from jetlag and so on. We were liing in quite a remote HK island in a sort of youth hostel in a forest. There were lots of fun creatures everywhere. All of the creatures seem to be very much bigger than in England – butterflys about 3* the size, and massie spiders all over the place. Also tonnes of lizards everywhere. In the past few days as we were leavuing HK and today in China there were some massive storms – really very fun and much bigger and hotter than English storms. The thunder and lightening was also very impressive.

Went shopping in Shen Zhen for the first tiem today. We all went to a local department store and I tried to buy some shorts. I took the shorts off the rail and took them the the checkout. The women there laughed at me and lead me back to where I had picked them up. She then tried to work out my size and then put the shorts back and filled out a form specifying which shorts and the cost. I went back to the till and paid the 68 yuan for them. She just gave me a reciept and said some things in mandarin, which of course I didn’;t understand. I then looked a bit lost and went down the escallators and had a wander around the lower floor. I went back up the escallarots and there was the woman with two (!) pa\irs of shorts in a plastic bag… Apparently this is not particularly normal even by Chinese standards.

On the way back, a girl got her bag stolen by some people on a motorbike. The police were quick to arrive – probably because we were distinguished visitors, however they held her and several others in the local police station for a few hours and then told us that because we were resident in the school (though only for a week until we go travelling in north guandong) we should have registered with the police. We all had to hand in our passports and several went back to the police station to register officially, which went though without any problems. Pfew!