Hopped on a bus into town today. My mission: to find an iron and ironing board.
I walked down this really long road with shops on either side. The shops that face each other, incidentally, sell exactly the same stuff, which means you only need to walk on one side of the road! I learned the pinyin translation for 'iron' and 'ironing board' and armed with this I went into loads of shops.
I headed straight into the middle of Xing Cheng where there's still a fort in place. It's a walled town and right in the centre is a drum tower and today it had a film crew up there so you may see me on CCTV. (That is actually the name of the Government's TV channel!)
The streets made up what you'd expect of a traditional Chinese town: it was really quaint and nice there. Having decided that I wouldn't find an iron in them there parts though I followed the masses and arrived at a department store where, sure enough, I found an iron. Oh, the irons they had! They had steam ones and electric ones and blue ones and red ones and green ones... I got a blue steam one. It's really good.
Then I found a little shop like a pound shop on one of the side streets and bought a whistling kettle and a chopping board. I also picked up some sweet stuff from a nice little lady on the street and I bought some cha, or tea.
Imagine my disappointment when I got back and the kettle didn't whistle! Moreover, my sweet stuff was rubbish. I tried something that looked like a doughnut stick that had no filling, something that looked like a Rice Krispie cake but was really greasy and a chocolate muffin which was pretty good actually.
I had 2 e-mails from university-type people: the first said: 'Hi Sean, remember not to flush toilet paper and don't leave your electric blanket on otherwise your room will get warm.' The other said: 'Hi Sean, one of the teachers has lost his passport so can't get a work visa. Another is not coming. So if you would please do an extra 10 lessons per week we'll increase your salary to 7600RMB per month.' Good times.