Zhenjiang, my love

Sometimes city names are difficult to pronounce.  I pronounce them like I see them.  I screw this one up.  It sounds like “Jen-Jung”.  So why don’t they write it like that.  Who created this Pinyin crap?  Obviously some no-nothing foreigner.  It sure is easy for me to look and/or sound studpid.

We had Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off this week.  Since this is China that meant that Monday classes were last Saturday (I have no classes that day), and Tuesday classes with Sunday.  I had my first class on Sunday and everyone but 4 showed up.  Not good.  I was hoping for less than 5.  For the second class I told them the class before since I was the only class that day, if they wanted to go home, they should go home.  Many did, and some didn’t show up.  I had 4 students.  We chatted a bit and then I let them go.  Tough day.  I cancelled my afternoon classes since those are my “elective” students and since it’s an elective, I elected no to waste my time.

We went to Zhenjiang n the afternoon.  It’s about 45 minutes from her but we in Jurong are considered a suburb.  There’s about 1 million people there but it was nice to get away.  I saw a few of my students at the bus station and one girl who ran up to me and said, “Hello Martin”.  I played along since I had no idea who she was.  That was an uncomfortable 5 minutes.

The hotel we got was $23 a night and what a deal.  Great location, spotlessly clean, helpful staff, just all-good things.  The room was kind of small but who cares.  We’re not living there, just sleeping.  We spent 2 nights in Zhenjiang.  I can’t say they were action-packed, but we had a good time and it was great to get away.

On Sunday we went to the museum which is housed in the old British consulate.  It’s a nice old building as you can see.

You don’t have to pay to get in, but you do need tickets.  Don’t ask.  Here is Shujie returning with the tickets since she was fooled too and tried to get in without tickets.

It was a museum.  You’ve seen one, you’ve seen 1,000.  I think I’ve must have seen hundreds in my life and it’s hard to find anything new to see.  However, this museum had a special exhibit for 1 month of seashells.  I know you’re thinking, “so what”, but it was quite impressive.  Pictures don’t quite capture it but here are a few.

They were also showing some “sliver fablets” (look carefully).  I thought you shouldn’t miss these.

Here I am pondering all the great works of great works I’ve just witnessed.  Out of the approx. 700 museums I’ve been to in my life, I’d say this one ranks in the top 700.

From there we walked in this “old area” which was quite touristy and empty.  There were some nice restaurants of the expensive variety so we didn’t want to take a chance since we might not like it.  And sometimes when browsing the menu, the pictures can turn you off.

We ended up eating at a Best Western Hotel.  They had a cheeseburger with real French’s mustard.  It wasn’t blood money and it was pretty good.  Shujie had a tuna sandwich which she loved dipping into the mustard.  It’s funny.  Sometimes her eating habits remind me of when Leah was a baby.  Broccoli with ketchup was Leah’s big thing.

I wanted to go the Pearl S. Buck museum but the people at the hotel talked Shujie out of it.  They said no one likes it and it’s not worth the bus ride.  I folded like a cheap suitcase but we should have gone.  Pearl S. Buck for those who don’t know, was the first person win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature back in the early 30’s.  She grew up in China and wrote a famous book about it called “The Good Earth”.  I recommend the book, and I recommend the movie.

Monday’s big trip was Jinshan Mountain.  It was busy due to the 3-day holiday.  It was quite pretty.  Here are a couple of random pictures.

We met 2 of my students there so here I am posing with them.  The little one is Estella who loves me (I think) in a fatherly way.  She’s about the only student I’m not afraid to touch (hand on shoulder, hug, whatever) since she does it to me.  It’s like having a windup doll running on an Energizer battery.  She’s so nice but she’s always up.  Sometimes you just want to slap her (in a nice way).

We ate at Pizza Hut since we only visit the finest restaurants China has to offer.  The next day we returned to Jurong and had a birthday dinner for Eleanor upstairs and her friend that was visiting.  It was most pleasant.

Thursday was a work day and I learned that one of my classes won’t be around next week.  They’re an accounting class so they have practice (whatever that is) all week.  I don’t mind but it sort of stops me from doing the same class 2 times in a row, which made my life somewhat easier.

As the year goes on I’m get a little more burned out.  I’ve got a little more than 2 months teaching time left, so I should survive that.  I have no idea what I’m doing with my electives classes next week.  What a dumb idea wasting Eleanor and I over there.  We should be having special classes for only students who give a damn.  But that makes too much sense, doesn’t it?

I’ve been told my salary will be late this month.  I told Wang Jing (whose fault it isn’t) that if I don’t have it before Wednesday, I don’t work.  She puts a requisition on her bosses desk where it sits for weeks.  Enough of this crap.  It’s disrespectful.  I may be humourous, but sometimes I can be cantankerous.  I thing I need to show them that side of me.

I got my release letter from the school so I need to have my medical check (which I’ll do here), and get my criminal record (no crimes) because they need that for my visa.  I’ll wait until I’m back in Toronto to get the criminal check since it will be faster.

The weather is starting to get nice.  My sleeping habits are terrible.  I sleep lousy at night but great in the afternoon.  And if I don’t sleep in the afternoon, I still sleep lousy at night.

This is a crazy place to live, but it’s so normal to me now.  I may not speak the language and I may not eat the food, but I do adjust.  Obviously I’m enjoying it since I want to come back.  The fact that Shujie will be teaching makes it better than good.

Off to the supermarket now.  How normal.

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