So here i am in XinTian, Hunan Province.
The school is a boarding school and has around 4000 students!!!! I have a really nice apartment and it is HUGE!!!! Kitchen, internet, huge bedroom, two bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, dvd player, tv etc. Anyways, it is cool. A few of the teachers here can speak English but im now speaking to everyone like they are deaf. (slowly and loudly) and prounouncing every single letter. Its actually exhausting!!! This city is also as filthy as Yangshuo. There is no such thing here as Binmen or tips. People here just chuck their litter onto the floor, even empty thier waste bins on the floor. Its pretty minging!!! Everywhere you go there are plastic bottles, papers, wrappers, magazines, old clothes, waste food and sh*te on the floor basically!!! I have not yet seen any cleaning products which is driving me a bit mad!!
Anyway, the town i am in is okay, it is filthy but China is filthy. There are loads of clothes shops..none of them fit me though. Im kind of obese here!!! Like the foreign giant!!! Height is power i tell myself!!! The Chinese are brutal when it comes to animals unfortunately. Pets dont seem to exist, they are eaten. Yes, i am tempted to adopt the chicken, pigeon, goldfish and turtle i have recently spotted up for sale near the gate of my school. I fear i could turn into Ace Ventura, Pet Detective! On the subject of food. I was taken out the night i arrived by the principal and with other teaching staff to a local restaurant which involved selecting raw food (meat and veg) and adding them to a boiling pot on your table and all digging in!!! Not bad until i discovered one of the teachers started adding chicken feet...hmm. However, the beers were being served in small glasses which was fine. The principal started off by saying "Gumbea" (cheers) and downed his drink and hinted to me to down my beer!!! Wahey! So i did, and this seemed to continue, about every 10 mins he would shout Gumbea! and down the hatch it would go!!! It isnt until about the 15th drink i am wondering if it is at all acceptable to drink your principal under the table?! None of the other female staff were drinking. Whilst this is continuing, he doesnt seem to look too comfortable downing this beer all the time, whereas it doesnt seem to be a problem for me!!! Even so, at lunch time today, the same thing happened!!! Another one of the teachers whipped out a 500ml bottle of chinese whiskey and luckily i had beer again, he insisted on the same ritual!!! Within 2 hours...the bottle was empty and he looked much worse for wear!!! I fear i will not only be teaching English, but maybe the appreciation of alcohol!!!? Good job im well trained!!! heehee. I actually start teaching on Monday and so today i was shown around the school. The children are amazed to see a Westerner. I am the only Western face they have seen in their lives as they do not generally ever leave their towns. I went into watch a class and as i entered they all applauded me and were grinning from ear to ear!!! I alomost feel like a passport or a ticket to another world! Amazingly the Chinese English teachers here can hardly speak English. It would be like me teaching French. So i think my work will be cut out!! On Saturday 8 March was actually "Women's Day" How cool??! So in celebration a competition/outing was organised amongst the female teachers of the school. It involved walking up to the foot of a huge flight of stairs to a temple. there was about 60 of us split into three groups and the competition was to race to the top of the temple!!!! So naturally we did! It was hilarious!!! They all turned out in the most questionable sporting gear i had ever seen, giggling and racing up the stairs!!! I nearly wet myself with laughter!! I rose to the challenge and sped up 2 steps at a time (they couldnt as their legs are all short!) and i happened to take first place!!! My prize...a bath towel!!! 2nd was an umbrella. So i felt honoured. It is nice to have actually, better than my travel towel anyway.
Anyway, more update to come soon. Lots of love Sally xxx