A Travellerspoint blog

May 2008

The School's 50th Birthday

rain 21 °C

On Sunday the 11/05/08 the school turned 50. The celebrations started on Friday and went through to Monday. On Friday the 9/05/08 we were advised that the foreign teachers were to attend on the Sunday. We had to be on the school bus at 8.50am.

We were transported to the new campus were the festivities were to take place. When we arrived the school looked beautiful. There was a rainbow over the entrance, dragons at the entrance, flowers and trees had been planted, there was a band, and some drums, cannon fires and seating. Looked as if we might be here for the day.

The speeches started. They went forever - 1 hour. There were 10 speakers. They all spoke in Chinese. The sky opened up, the rain pelted down, we were sitting in the open. After the final speech the cannon fires went off, we hopped back into the bus and came home. It was very disappointing.

All of the Chinese teachers were wearing white shirts and a red tie. Red is a lucky colour for them. We thought perhaps we should have too and we would have if someone told us. Later we learnt that the school had given these as a gift. We didn't get a gift, but we were also a last minute thought.

On Monday afternoon we were invited to the parade that took place on Saturday Night at the new campus and a fire work display. I boycotted I don't do reserves.

Posted by Bettinamc 22:55 Archived in China Comments (0)

Going to the hairdressers

sunny 23 °C

Well it had been more than 6 weeks since I left home and therefore I was in need of a hairdresser. It was time to take the plunge. The difficulty for me is I have been going to the same hairdresser for 12 years. I have thick, curly hair and a lot of it. Apparently there's only a week between a bad hair cut and a good hair cut. With this in mind I head to the salon.

The salon is called Chanel. I chose the salon as the people who work there look kind of hip and happening. As I walked in the door a lady, who I later found it her name was Maggie, said, "Good morning." Hey it was afternoon but we have all been guilty of some time in our lives of doing the same thing. I thought this is a good start, someone speaks some Chinglish.

Maggie sat me down and asked what I would like. I told her I wanted a cut, colour and blow dry. She brings me the colour chart. I was armed with the colour provided by my hairdresser, Aretha, and was able to select the colour.

Maggie then takes me over to a bed where you lie down and your head goes over the basin and she started washing my hair. Having coloured my hair for longer than I can remember I thought this was strange. But I went along with and thoroughly enjoyed the head massage.

After washing, Maggie took me to another chair, where a Chinese man cut my hair. Maggie asked me how much I wanted cut off so I told her that I just wanted the split ends cut off. She asked me if I meant the broken bits, so I agreed???? Well he cut of two inches. More than what I would have liked but hey that must have been the broken bits!

Maggie than dried my hair whilst the hairdresser mixed the colour - 5 + 7, Aretha had told me this was another way of mixing the colour. So happy to see this. Although looking in the bowl I didn't think there was nearly enough to colour my hair. But then the Chinese are very resourceful. However, in this case they had to mix the colour 3 times.

Maggie then applied the colour. The hairdresser and Maggie were looking very intently at my hair. I knew exactly what they were looking at. Maggie then says, "Why do you colour your hair when you have white hair?" God bless her. I responded with "They ain't white, they are grey and this is exactly why I colour my hair!"

Whilst waiting for the colour to develop Maggie gives me a shoulder, arm and hand massage. By this stage I've been in the hairdressers for a couple of hours, but what the heck, I've got plenty of time to spare especially if it has anything to do with pampering!

The colour has developed and Maggie takes me back to rinse out the colour. Another head massage!

Maggie than dries of my hair. The hairdresser comes back and through Maggie translating he asks if I went it curly. Of course I don't. I don't like it curly. So he says something back to Maggie in Chinese and laughs. I say to Maggie that I cannot understand Chinese but I reckon he has just said, 'this is going to take me an hour.' Maggie laughs and said that was what he said.

As he blow dries my hair, I tell him it looks beautiful, any words of encouragement so he doesn't decided it's too hard. He did a good job. Obviously no one can blow dry like Aretha but he did do a good job. After he finishes blow drying he starts to scrounge around in his draws. I know what he is looking for. I laugh to myself when he pulls out the thinning scissors. He obviously thought that I am here for 10 months and will need a few cuts, so if he has to blow dry it again, he's making sure it's not as thick!

After 3 hours of pampering in the salon the job is done. The bill comes to Y163 ($27 AUD). I pay more than that in Australian dollars. I hand over Y203, from the change I give Y20 to Maggie and the other Y20 to the hairdresser.

Posted by Bettinamc 00:46 Archived in China Comments (0)

My First Day at the New Campus

My holiday is over!

sunny 11 °C

Saturday 26 April 08 I received a phone call from one of the teachers. Her and her husband had broken their contract with the school and decided to head home. I wished them well. In the back of my mind I was thinking about who was going to inherit those classes, knowing that it was probably going to me and Barbara. As I had 10 teaching hours/w and Barbara had 8 teaching hours/w although we were being paid for 20 hours/w.

Shortly after this I got the dreaded phone call, "Can you come to the office, please?" Off i went to the office knowing why I had been summoned. I was inheriting Alice's classes. Now she never spoke highly of her classes, but I was keeping an open mind.

So my first day back from holidays I would start new classes at the new campus. Being the organized person that I am I had already prepared my classes for the week of my return. I had wasted that time as I would not be needing them. I didn't have anytime before leaving for Qingdao to prepare any lesson plans. I was not going to worry about it as there was nothing I could do on my holidays.

On my return from Qingdao I quickly looked through the teachers guide and put something together for my classes on the Monday. The new campus has a different timetable to the old campus and I have to catch the school bus. I set my alarm for 6.20am as the bus leaves at 7.40am. This time is before I would have normally been out of bed.

Up at 6.20am, breakfast, showered and ready for my first day. Victoria meets me at the bus. She is going to show me my classrooms. The bus takes 20 -25 minutes to get to the new campus. I am amazed by the new campus. It is beautiful.

Victoria comes to my first class with me. The biggest class I have had at this stage was 12. Here I was with 54 students eagerly awaiting. We did some introductions and then it was on to the workbook.

All of the students I had had so far spoke good English and were keen. I do not understand why these students are doing English. That are not interested. So now I have 5 classes twice a week, a few of them have English names and a few are interested. I decided that if they are not interested that's Ok and I will put my energy into those that are provided those that aren't do not interrupt the class.

Every class I collect mobile phones, magazines, novels, playing cards, mp3 players, newspapers and anything else they think is appropriate.

I look forward to Wednesday and Friday as I have Jikong 06-2 and they are fantastic. Whilst they may not always be correct they put in a guts effort. That's all you ask of them.

So my 10 h/w has now turned into 20 teaching h/w + 9.5 travelling h/w + what ever time is takes me to do lesson plans. Yes I know I shouldn't be complaining cause this is what I would have done in 2 days in my old life, but I had got used to working 10 hours/w.

God help me when I go back to the real world.

Posted by Bettinamc 23:33 Archived in China Comments (0)

Qingdao History

sunny 24 °C

Qingdao has a population of 1.6M

Qingdao was a fishing village. German forces wrestled the town from the Chinese in 1898 after the murder of two German missionaries and Qingdao was ceded to Germany for 99 years. Under the German rule the famous Tsingtao Brewery opened in 1903, electric lighting was installed, missions and a university were established, the railway to Jinan was built, the Protestant Church was handing out hymnals by 1908, 2,000 men were deployed and a naval base established. At least there are some positives about the German invasion.

In 1914 the Japanese moved into town after the successful naval bombardment of the port. They held the city until 1922. They returned in 1938 after the start of the war and occupied the town until they were defeated in 1945.

Today Qingdao is the 4th largest port in China and the 2nd largest city in the Shandong Province.

Posted by Bettinamc 21:51 Archived in China Comments (0)

Pampering in Qingdao

sunny 27 °C

Sleeping Lotus Spa
Whilst in Qingdao is was my birthday. So I wanted to do something for me as I do every birthday. Of to the spa it was. We took a taxi thankfully as we would never have found it ourselves. It is inside a community.

Well we went in and the interior was immaculate the furniture was traditional Asian. It was absolutely beautiful. The owner sat down with us and asked what we would like. We were here to be pampered. We wanted a facial and a massage.

Next we got a cup of tea. The owner then took us to look at the view. This was right on the beach. The view was uninterrupted. We sat outside and drank our tea. It was so relaxing.

Next the owner took us upstairs to show us the different rooms. There were decks up here that I could imagine myself sitting on with a nice glass of wine and some cheese.

Then we went to get changed and have our facial and massage. The experience was divine and I would say the best spa I have ever been to. The total cost for this indulgence was Y480 ($80). It was worth every cent. Barbara said that she was expecting to pay Y900+. That would have been the cost at home.

Nails
Still in some need of pampering we wanted a manicure. We searched everywhere - street in, street out and the shopping centres. We couldn't find a shop anywhere. That night I was looking through a magazine and found a place at Carrefour. The next day we headed of to Carrefour to have a manicure. It was fantastic. We had the best hand massage. They also put your hands into massaging gloves. Highly recommended.

Renmin Foot Massage Centre
We decided towards the end of our holiday that we needed a foot massage. Off we went after finding this centre in a magazine.
When we arrived we are met by a Chinese man, who has limited English. Barbara points to foot massage, he says, "No, for Y148 ($24AUD) you can have a foot massage, a full body massage and refined oil knead back." Barbara looks at me I nod agreeing. It appears Barbara and I are alike. No need to ask twice when it comes to pampering.
This experience was unbelievable and I would go again if I had the opportunity.
Apparently Renmin Foot Massage Centre is a chain. The massages were more based on reflexology. I felt so good after it. I wish there was one in Tai'an.

Posted by Bettinamc 06:24 Archived in China Comments (1)

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