Well it's been another weird week. The last 10 days seem to have gone really fast but also seem to have dragged on forever.
I think a lot of it is because there have been a lot of lesson cancellations just recently. Not that we've minded too much- it's been a blessing in disguise really with how hot the weather's been and I've only nearly fainted once!
We've still been trying to get out and do a bit though despite the crippling weather. Me and Sarah had the day off last friday so we decided to have a walk in the afternoon to the Daxingshan temple. It was a good job we went when we did because we looked at the map to see exactly how to get there and, (like everything else in china!) it was wrong. We managed to ask for directions and 2 teenage girls eventually guided us to the right place which was in an entirely different place to where it was supposed to be. We had a good look around and even saw some laoist buddhist monks who still live there and took a load of photos which are already up. Some of the art there wasn't what we were expecting, which depictions of heaven and hell which isnt part of the buddhist religion. There were also influences from india with buddhist statues with 8 arms dotted about too. Apparently, its one of the oldest temples fom when Xian was the original capital though, so we assumed that there've been a lot of other influences since then.
I had another fun first experience last friday too when i tried my first motorbike taxi. They're absolutely everywhere and havent had chance to get one before with never needing one on my own, but as the library is really far away i thought why not. It's really cheap and really fun. You can just weave through all the crazy chinese traffic and literally feel the wind through your hair as they don't believe in health and sfety over here haha.
On saturday we finally managed to find a little clothes market where the clothes were normal sizes and the prices were nice cheap chinese prices too! Emma and Sarah both managed to get a few things having not brought anything summery with them whatsoever and we all tried haggling as well. I didnt manage to get any sandals however, apparently size 5 is the size of a clowns foot over here!
It was Sergiy's birthday party on saturday night so after shopping we all had a nap and then went round to Peng You's. We got to the shop to find about 30 people sitting at a makeshift banquet table on the street with more food and bottles of vodka and bai jiu than I ever want to see again! It was a really fun night though with such a mix of nationalities with both teachers and chinese locals that it turned into what might as well have been a mini carnival. Miguel, a spanish lecturer from a uni in the city, was even teaching how to dance like a proper spanish person at one point. I was sensible and left at a good time which unfortunately couldnt be said for sarah who woke up the next morning with the mother of all hangovers and the biggest scab on her knee ive ever seen having fallen down a flight of stairs, bless her!
Luckily, this week has been quite a light week with things being cancelled and by monday night hangovers had vanished. It's been a week of bad news though, starting with Jaoquin's blow that he's leaving. Luckily, we havent got that long left now, so we hope the replacement and the school wont be able to screw us over too much. It's jsut a shame his vision for the school was so obstructed by management who have no idea how to run a school.
We had a day off from bad news on Wednesday though as it was Emma's birthday and I had as good a day as she did! There's an amazing hostel in the city where we go to have a drink sometimes cuz they have a really nice western bar beneath it where you can go and have a decent night without emptying your wallet. They also do the best western food upstairs and so for her birthday breakfast, i took emma for pancakes. It was really nice and i managed to get hold of a decent cappucino and even treated myself to hazelnut flavouring as well! We shopped around the city for a bit after and then went to meet Sarah so that we could take Emma to get her nails done for her birthday present. We invited loads of people round then for a party courtesy of Emma's dad who had given her money for her birthday which she spent on food and drink. Again, it was a really fun night and also nice getting to know another different group of people. It's quite amazing how much we get stared at over here when there's quite a little hoard of about 100 white people who get together quite often! It was quite good though in another way too, with more and more deadlines approaching for people leaving, so pretty soon that little hoard of westerners is going to dwindle a lot so it's been good to get together often before everyone goes their different ways.
Since then, it's been a pretty quiet couple of days. Our chinese lessons have finally got back to normal now as well and im sure you'll all be glad to know that i can now call you fat or ugly and you wouldn't have a clue! I much prefer piao liang (p-y-ow lee-yan) though which is beautiful for women or shuai (Sh-why) which is handsome for men. Aww.
So that's it again for now and we'll see what next week brings.
Update again soon