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Space Sharks and My New School and Apartment

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya So here I am in the present day (that being Thursday, 4th September 2008) and the Summer Beers N Noodles Adventure has come to an end. My sandals and I now live in an area known as Shanglou and I will be living and teaching in Shangzhou city. The Shanglou region was formed around 2001 and Shangzhou city was made the capital and is around 120km from the ancient delight of Xian City. Shangzhou County is one of the less developed areas of China in terms of education. There are five hundred and nineteen schools in the area with over one hundred thousand students and sadly there are less than fifty English teachers. The result is that some schools have no English classes at all and others have only several. The average temperature is around 12.9, January's average is -0.1, July's average is 25.1, the highest temperature is 39.8 and sadly for me who hates snow the lowest is -14.8. but hopefully it won't get that low whilst I'm here. Besides Shangzhou County the Shangluo area is made up of six other counties and one hundred and ninety six townships and villages. Administrative Units

Area in sq.km & population as at 2000-11-01

Shangluo region 19,292 & 2,345,437 people Shangluo Shi (Shangzhou city) 2,672 & 530,883 people Luonan county 2,562 & 455,183 people Danfeng county 2,438 & 295,833 people Shangnan county 2,307 & 227,636 people Shanyang county 3,515 & 400,993 people Zhenan county 3,477 & 276,488 people Zhashui county 2,322 & 158,421 people So, I left Xian city on Tuesday. The school came to collect me and the journey back to Shangluo look over three hours. This was due to the fact that the new freeway is still under construction. Once it is complete (supposedly at the end of September) it will be a smooth one and a half hour bus ride to Xian. Most of the tunnels are still having their finishing touches put on.

I spent most of the time watching the scenery as it quickly passed my window. It made me happy and was beautiful and full of green mountains. When we arrived it was around half past six so after dropping off my bags in my new third floor apartment we all headed out for noodles, rice and a cold beer. When we got back to my apartment we began going through all the rooms to see if there was anything I wanted changed. First on the list was the power board hanging from a pole in the bathroom. It would be good if that was moved elsewhere, kind of like near the roof. Strangely they thought it was fine even though the shower head faced that direction! I thought differently and kept it at the top of the 'too be fixed list'. Next was the fridge. The motor worked, the light was on but things just weren't cold in there. In fact it was warmer in the fridge than what it was in the kitchen. Once again a few of them disagreed with me because if the light is on and the motor is working then everything is good and well. We left it until the following day! Of course the same thing happened. Mr Fixit came and went during the day, opened the fridge, put his hand in and saw that the light was on and heard the motor was working and left saying that everything was working. I then started the discussion about the fact that I really did need somewhere to hang my laundry. We all agreed on that point but it all got a little confusing when we began discussing where to put the line. I was happy with the end of the kitchen but would have been over the top happy with it being strung up in the 'middle room'. This is a room that really can't be used unless you have a dinner party and need to seat many people. I went to bed happy with the fact that the following day all would be well and I could do a huge amount of washing. Not only did I have my travelling clothes to wash but ALL my other clothes had to be washed due to the fact that they were covered in grandma wrinkles the same as those that would be on your Great Great Great Grandma if she was still alive. So yesterday after putting his hand and ear in the open fridge and saying it was working well I left scratching my head and went back into the lounge to continue watching some Lost. I head a lot of banging from the kitchen so I thought that was where the clothes line would be hung. That was ok, it was not as good as the Middle Room but I would be very happy with it. I then heard some banging from the bathroom and thought, hey they are doing the power board and I can safely have a shower tonight without squashing myself in the furtherest corner from the board. Awhile later Mr Fixit came in and motioned for me to follow him. We went straight to the bathroom and there sat the power board in the same position it was before. He then pointed to the roof and he proudly showed me my new clothes line. I was speechless and my finger remained near the level of my head and it slowly made its way to my head to begin scratching away my total confusion. Why was the power board still there and why do I have a clothes line in my tiny bathroom. He smiled and pointed to the drain and even though we had discussed the fact that when clothes come out of a washing machine they are just damp and most of the time don't even drip, I sill have my clothes line in my tiny bathroom where they can now be hung drip less to dry. The very fact that when I go to the toilet I have to sit with my head in my wet/dry clothes doesn't really matter. The other fact that doesn't matter is the fact that I have to take them all off the line when I shower and then put then back on afterwards. Before getting angry or calling Mr Fixit stupid you must remember the fact that in an area such as Shanglou most homes would not have a fridge or a washing machine. Just as Luo Wei still does in her apartment at her school, all people will wash their clothes by hand each night before going to bed. They never wring them out like we do (unlike what I do when I hand wash. I squeeze the bloody life out of mine!), they are simply hung on a clothes hanger and then on a small wire in the bathroom and left to drip dry. So I guess you could kind of compare it if I was taking a vacation in space and someone from space telling me to swim with his pet space shark because space sharks don't eat people but space nacho's as it is from his space culture. Well no, I don't think I would swim with a space shark that ate only space nachos. I would maybe grab a space beer and relax by the space pool in a space banana lounge and wave to the space shark as it swam by. I would pretty much do it my way, the way I knew worked and worked well. So over the past two days I have washed all my clothes, hung them in my bathroom, sat with my head in my washing whilst going to the toilet, unpacked all my things and watched most of the fourth season of Lost. Which by the way just keeps getting more and more confusing! Beers N Noodles toya.....shane

PS: the figures and info for Shangzhou were actually provided by my Singapore buddy Simon over two years ago when I was supposed to go here instead of Fujian Province. As always, a big thanks to Singapore Simon! _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by The Troggs. The album was 'Love Is All Around' __________________________________________________________

My New School and Apartment

My New School and Apartment


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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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