Day 15 - Friday June 13, 2008

On the streets of Zhumadian again.

Traveling in style.

Had 2 apples for breakfast, stayed in the hotel until around 9:30, took the bus to school and waited for Michael in Chunhong’s office. There was supposed to be some sort of presentation at 10 - but there was another “meeting”, people couldn't make it and it would be later... I was not surprised and that’s why I’d brought my computer.

I did some more diary entries as I waited and then around 12 noon Chunhong, Frank, Michael Redmond, my Michael and I walked out to go for lunch. On the way we met Mr. Cui in the van and another teacher from the Phillipines - whose name is Jonen. He is from the Philippines and teaches automotive stuff. So we all got in the van and all went to lunch together somewhere in the city.

We had some appetizers, or pre-meal or "while you wait" dishes (as always) including some delicious green vegetable dishes and deep fried giant sprouts. Then as usual, when we were all full, the dumplings came out - 4 HUGE plates of dumplings - pork, lamb, and veggie variety. Mr. Cui took the leftover dumplings home. I was glad to see they would not go to waste.

Jonen asked me where I was from - if I was from another country originally. I said I was from Canada and born in Canada. Then he asked asked if I had any other blood in me ... because he said I looked German. Ohhh ... then I told him yes, that both my parents were German. He had lived in Germany for three years - that explained it I guess, and I was honestly delighted that someone could tell by looking at me that I was of German stock.

Chunghong and I were dropped off at the mall - she needed to get a white pair of shoes because she was making a presentation at the meeting today. She took me to a place where nails were done; I got a manicure. We had to rush because in about 40 minutes we had to be back at the university where there would be an important graduation ceremony with the bigwigs and the chancellor all making speeches to the graduating students of the International College. All of the teachers were there and they all received flowers of thanks (I got flowers too).

Afterwards we all went out into the very hot day and had a large photo taken. I didn't take photos - too bad. It was a bit of a sunnier day than usual - very very bright, especially standing on pavement. The light in China, where we were, is actually more bright than we're used to because the sun is much higher in the sky than it is in NS. Perhaps that's why Chinese eyes have developed to become thinner than western eyes.

Then most of us went back to the foreign experts office. Michael and I were taken aside into a large office and presentations were made to us. Something for the president of NSCAD and some gifts for us. It was all very official and pleasant. Chinese people are so giving and generous. Photos were taken - as always. Chunhong used my camera so I have a copy of them.

Ah, the presentation: Beside me is Baoyu Wang and beside Michael is another professor whose name I will know soon.

A gift for president of NSCAD.

Gifts for us - how lovely! - a little golden rat for Christel and a little golden gourd for Daniel. (They couldn't find an ox for Daniel's year)

After that, Chunhong took us to a private office and figured out what they owed Michael ... counted and recounted and laid the money out on the table - cash! That's something we don't see often anymore. But it sure came in handy for the next week while we traveled to Zhungzhou, Kaifeng (again) and Beijing.

Then I waited while my Michael and Frank did some marking. I had to leave the foreign experts office because it was too cold. All that beautiful warm weather outside and people want to stay in cold air conditioned offices! Today is actually lovely - it was sunnier than usual, cooler than yesterday and pleasantly breezy. Probably around 30C today - while yesterday was around 33C or more.

This evening we all went out to yet another restaurant I had not been to. There were 11 of us at the table - all westerners except Chunhong and Gua Gua (I think Chunhong realized I would enjoy a final visit with her daughter). I sat with Gua Gua on one side and Phil from Coventry University on the other. We had pleasant conversation. He’s more into eating healthy foods than any other person I’ve met here.

At 10 we left - the guys dropped me off at the hotel and then they all went for a drink to their favourite bar - including my Michael (!). Well, this was the last night before many of them would go their own ways. It was a more western type bar that they went to, a bar that western teachers have become friendly and familiar with. They can even store some of their favourite booze there and keep some of their music there. I was surprised that Michael went along and surprised that he didn’t arrive back until 1:45 am. I was up most of the time - I'm just not used to him being out alone - at night - drinking. We had to be up fairly early for the train to Zhungzhou.

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