Travel To Grow

Understanding The World Through Travel

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Aug '09

Arrival in Nanhai

I met up with my friend Maggie aka Margaret in the morning (she was nice enough to meet me at my hotel) We went out for sweet breakfast of rice and beef. In this restaurant the cutlery is stored in the table… So after you sit down they slide out a drawer and grab your napkins, chopsticks and soup spoon for you… saves time to come from the kitchen!

The food is also served with free tea!

I totally thought I took a picture of my food but I guess not!

After that we went to the bus station and Maggie helped me buy the ticket. They slapped a sticker on me that says where I’m going (very awesome idea to keep foreigners from getting lost during the transfers) and I was on my way.

After about an hour we made it to the Chinese border. They had a special line for foreigners which super long and about 8 lines for everyone else which moved quickly. I’d soon find out this line made me the last guy from my bus to make it through. It also didn’t help that they gave me the wrong arrival card to fill out on the bus so I had to toss that one and fill out a new one when I finally got to the front of the line.

At this point I had rehearsed my answers to the custom questions a bunch because I was entering on a Tourist Visa so I had to pretend my trip had nothing to do with working. I was a little worried because a lot of countries hate letting you in without a return flight, and I had no hotel booked and I was also carrying a guitar (not many people would bring a guitar for a short vacation) To get into America they make you answer like 15 questions and they try to get a backstory on your entire life, I figured China would be even worse because of how strict the government was, but to my surprise the questions I got were.

“So how long are you going to stay?

And you’re just on vacation right?

Okay go ahead. “

No problem, nice.

After taking so long in the foreigners line by the time I made it through there was a Chinese dude running around checking everyone’s stickers when he saw my sticker he let out a big laugh and a sigh of relief then called someone on the walkie talkie said something in Chinese and laughed some more he then got me to follow him to the bus which looked like it was about to leave without me lol. I think they were saying something like ‘of course the white guy is the last guy to make it hahaha’ well I was the only foreigner on the bus ><

After another 2.5 hours I arrived in Foshan the main district all the LingDong English schools are in. I met up with Ken my Chinese contact dude and he took me on a tour of different schools, we also got my photo taken and he started the long process of getting me a work visa, and also a foreign registration card. Eventually he took me to the Nanhai school… Nanhai is not where I’ll be teaching but I’m going to be living there for a few days cause the people who will help me get my apartment in Shunde are on vacation for a bit.

I’m glad I’m not going to be staying in Nanhai cause it kinda sucks, it’s like out in this cut off industrial area with nothing around it. Shunde is going to be a much nicer area.

Here’s a poster of our school.

And the main slogan on the wall…

Yes that’s right… The Insight is our Proud… suck it.

That would worry me but all the other English in the school is correct haha. I checked out some of the books on the teaching philosophy and the methods and it’s really impressive, they really know how to teach English as a second language.

My temporary room here totally sucks too, it’s got nothing in it and the bed is literally as hard as a board that I put a couple of sheets over… but I can’t help love it since its mine. I’ve never lived on my own before its fun!

It’s also really creepy… my room is decorated with a bunch of Mickey Mouse posters with motivational sayings under them! Weird… I mean I love Disney… but at least get some Lion King in here!

One hard thing about Nanhai is finding food… there’s a couple little street restaurants… umm not really restaurants, more like a tent over top of some road with a guy who cooks stuff. They’re about 10 minutes away, the only thing is without knowing Chinese is pretty impossible to order, the foods not precooked so you can’t just point at what you want and they don’t have menus, your just supposed to ask for stuff.

Luckily the schools have Teachers Assistances a group of Chinese girls who speak pretty good English, if you need help with anything (including ordering food) they’ll go out of their way to help you. My first meal in mainland china… noodles with… stuff…

For dinner I found out you can get the TA’s to order food from you over the phone and people will deliver it to the school (awesome) she warned me though that its really expensive. But really expensive in china is only $2 Canadian! This pork was pretty delicious.

Despite that Nanhai kinda sucks, I seem to be in a permanent good mood. I think being in a new place where everything is different and interesting does that to me.

Anyway since there’s nothing at all to do in Nanhai me and the head teacher of Nanhai Allen are going into the super busy area of town tomorrow to experience Chinese shopping!

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