Day 5 - Tuesday June 3, 2008

I stayed home to work on the Chinese student’s books this morning, but first saw Michael off at the bus stop. Snow and Cat came to show Michael how to use the bus system. We had been using taxis up to now - they cost about 1 dollar per ride to the university. The bus ride is 14 cents per ride.

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures - especially of old vehicles. This morning after I saw Michael to the bus, I stood at the corner of an intersection taking pictures for quite a while.

A man came up to me and chatted in his limited English, he came across to me as a little drunk, and said the word “police” (maybe he worked for the police, but he was normally dressed) and he said this, “My English is very poor.”, I said, “Your English is ok.” just to be polite, he grinned. I have a susp
ician that he was there to ask me not to take pictures because of other experiences I've had since.. but I found that if I just act like I don't understand Chinese ... which I don't, they walk away - perhaps frustrated, but I smile in order to look innocent.

He asked if I was a teacher, I told him I was an artist but my husband was a teacher - at the university. Who knows if he understood, not long after that, I went back to the hotel.

In the afternoon I walked a bit and then took a taxi to the same mall I had been to before.

The dress I had was a little uncomfortable and my other clothes were in the laundry (it took us a day to find out when they pick up laundry).

So it took me a while, but finally I found a blouse that fit me... I bought 3 of them (I don’t know why - I just wanted some options). I also found some pyjamas (had been wearing a t-shirt of Michael’s). They were men’s, but they were kind of pretty and they fit me!

I didn’t want to buy any clothes in China because I don’t need any clothes. But now that I found out how easy it is to buy a pair of shoes that fit, I’d be foolish not to get a few more pairs (right?).

That evening (Tuesday, June 3rd) Cat and another male student Bo or Beau, took us to a restaurant and we had a more typical Chinese meal. After we chose some dishes from the picture menu, they brought them all out and filled up the table so there was hardly any room for our little plates. I knocked my plate off of the table and messed up my freshly laundered pants. Oh well, I wiped them a bit with some wet kleenex...

The food was great and I found out that Cat’s father is a doctor and is away from home spending time in the earthquake area at a hospital. His mother is anxious about him. Cat asked me if I knew of Mahjong. Yes, I told him I played it on the computer and he told me his Dad is addicted to the game; he often plays until 4 am. I figured he was under a lot of stress as a doctor... but it was sad to hear.

I’m getting better at using chop sticks, but my hand muscles tire somewhat after a half hour of holding the sticks - I started to drop food before it got to my mouth - just can’t hold them tight enough anymore. But I’m having fun learning some new things.

(an aside)

I’ve used a “squat” toilet twice now - just for no. 1. The toilet is inset directly into the floor with places for your feet so you don’t slip. If I have pants on I have to take them off first because I don’t want them sprayed... (Ah, but a few days into it I discovered how to go without taking my pants off!)

Hmm... since my sick morning on Sunday I haven’t had a bm. So this morning I called Chunhong to see if she could take me to a TCM for some herbs or something. Her husband is a doctor, but not a TCM. I might have to end up taking some medication - I hope not!

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