|We went for dinner on Friday with some of the other foreign teachers. They discovered it was my birthday so we will celebrate next Friday at a vegetarian restaurant downtown. Many of the teachers are busy with small outside projects so it was an early night.
On Saturday, John, an American who has been here for six months, took us on an expedition downtown. Tamia came along to help us out with Chinese. We popped into a variety of shops including a number that make clothes. John had three pairs of pants and a shirt made for about $60. There were beautiful wools and brocades. We're hoping to be able to locate the building again to have some things made. We will need to take a Chinese student with us to do the bargaining. We had lunch at Fairyland which is a hangout for English teachers. We saw several that teach at some of the private schools here in Qinhuangdao. Fairyland has pizza and spaghetti, and an English menu, so it was a hit. The decor is out of Alice in Wonderland with swinging benches and murals of trees and fairies.
On Sunday we judged a debate competition. The topic was "One Child Policy - Good or Bad". The kids are certainly not hesitant to speak up. It was interesting for us to hear their ideas on the topic. The points against the policy seemed to be almost exclusively about more than one child to look after the parents when they are older. What a different concept than we have in Canada. Watch out kids! We may show up on your doorsteps!
We finally got hold of some movies to watch. Figuring out both the television and dvd player in Chinese is interesting. The foreign teachers have a binder with movies and any that are purchased are added to the pot. So there are some in English with Chinese subtitles, some in Chinese with English subtitles and, just to add to the fun, several in French with English subtitles.
We brought our Wii with us but it blew out a converter when we tried plugging it in. I can't afford to lose any more converters so one avenue of entertainment was slammed shut. We also brought a season of Lost but discovered once we tried to get them going that they were BluRay and not DVD. Talk about the best laid plans. Itunes won't download here so we have been reading lots. But we will soon run out of books. I hope there is a book pool too!
We took Vivian for lunch again today. She takes us to a restaurant and orders for us. We get some exposure to a variety of foods and she gets lunch. She is going to England in the Fall to do a Master's program in Human Resources.
We will be starting Chinese lessons tomorrow. Julia is married to one of the foreign teachers and agreed to try us out. We want to learn more about the money and food to start with.
Gis has weekly meetings set up with the I.T. instructors. The meetings are interesting because, well, they are Chinese and he is Canadian. They muddle through with limited English on their parts and limited Chinese on his.
We'll really hoping it warms up here. The daytime temperature remains around 10 degrees and the night time is colder. It is the coldest it has been in seventy years. Lucky us. There is so much to see around here but it needs to be a little warmer. The Great Wall disappears into the sea nearby. There are beautiful beaches to see and there is a gondola up the mountain that connects to the Great Wall. We are also planning a trip into Beijing sometime too.
Check out some of the photos of Qinhuangdao at http://wiki.worldflicks.org/qinhuangdao.html#coords=(39.932906922969764, 119.60060119628906)&z=12 Laolongtua is one of the spots we intend to hit.