We left (the child-bride and I) on Sunday afternoon at 1PM. We had 5 suitcases and 2 carry on suitcases. We had to pay for the 5th suitcase ($225) but we would have brought more. The frugal wife had a friend whose mother was going to be on the same plane as us so she offered her mother to take one of our suitcases. As with most things Chinese that I’m learning, what you hear is not what you get. The woman had 2 suitcases already so we had to pay for our fifth. That wouldn’t have been so bad but we could have brought more as there would have been no weight limit on the 5th suitcase. But we edited our suitcase weight to get it to 50 pounds. Ha Ha, the jokes on us.
The flight was long (14 hours) but the 20 minutes of sleep we had sure speeded things up. I watched 2 movies (Cedar Rapids and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) and enjoyed them both. I played a little on my computer even though they told me to put away my wireless mouse. That was a new one on me, and I read. Shujie worked on her Free Cell skills.
The food was awful and there wasn’t enough of it. Drink service only happens with meal service but if you go back to the galley and ask for something, they’re nice. The washrooms remained clean the whole flight (amazing) and all in all I would say the flight was long. Very long.
We arrived in Shanghai about 3:15 Monday afternoon and we split up. I got in the foreigner’s line for immigration while Shujie went in the national’s line. I was in line for over an hour and when I got out she had loaded our suitcases onto trolleys and we were ready to exchange some money. So we did. Now we had Chinese RMB and were ready to face the crowds.
There were so many people waiting for others and about half of them had signs. We looked for my name and finally found it. Wang Jing (or Jing Wang for you Western people) was there with a driver to take us to what I thought was going to be Zhenjiang. All the emails I got said I was teaching in Zhenjiang. Ha ha, the jokes on me. We are about an hour from Zhenjiang or an hour from Nanjing but we’re here in Jurong, a city of about 600,000 people.
It was a 3 1/2 hour drive from the airport in Shanghai. We stopped once for dinner where I didn’t eat anything (it was Chinese stuff) and Shujie didn’t eat. We made a quick supermarket stop for some fruit and toilet paper. And then we came to this beautiful school. Or, the pictures were beautiful.
It was night but it was obvious I was expecting something a little nicer. We dragged our bags in to this filthy disgusting apartment. Wang Jing was so sorry. She had assigned someone to clean it but that never happened. I think she should have checked it herself. We couldn’t unpack because it was too dirty and we were promised that an apartment would be cleaned and ready for us by Tuesday evening.
What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they understand that they’ve invited you to their country and it’s their responsibility to settle you in nicely and with as little aggregation as possible. I guess not. We had new sheets for the bed and the mattress was new and as hard as a cement floor. It’s Wednesday night and I’m still so sore from sleeping on it.
Okay, that’s my writing for now. I don’t live in Zhenjiang. I live in Jurong. This opening post was pretty boring but it will get better. Coming up in future posts are eating at the dirtiest restaurant ever, finding banks that don’t cash traveller’s checks, meeting Chinese English teachers who don’t speak English and other exciting things. And yes, these college kids look like middle school kids. I have my first classes tomorrow and they don’t have textbooks yet so I’ll just wing it in my inimmitable style.