A Travellerspoint blog

October 2008

Oh what a day

sunny 16 °C

Today is Friday. Friday is a hectic day for me. I have 6 classes. This is the most classes you can have in any given day. Add to that the travelling time and you have a total of 8hr and 40 minutes. A big ask for a person who has become accustomed to not working more than 4 hours per day!

I'm up at 6.30 after a cold night. I do my morning chores and I am on the bus. I go to my first and second class. All is good except I forgot my water bottle. I go to my third and fourth class. All is good. I get on the school bus to come back to my apartment and this is when things turn bad.

The school bus breaks down. I have two options either catch a bus or a taxi back to my apartment. I decided whichever one comes first I will catch. The No 4 bus comes. I catch the bus to the train station. The No 2 bus is at the train station I catch that to my apartment. No time to make lunch so I buy a Chinese Hamburger. I have 30 minutes to eat my lunch and get back on the school bus for periods 5 & 6. I make the bus but forget my water bottle again.

Class 5 & 6 are all good. I get back on the school bus and get back to my apartment. I get ready to go to the gym. I get to the gym safely. I do 50 minutes on the treadmill. Then I go to the supermarket.

In China you are not allowed to take bags into shops with you. I put my gym bag in the lockers provided. I do my groceries I go to get my bag and the locker won't open. I tap a Chinese lady, who appears to work there, on the back and do my best Marcel Marceau impersonation. She goes and gets someone who speaks a little bit of Chinglish. I explain to him the situation. He gets another Chinese lady who speaks even more Chinglish. They need proof that the bag is mine.

I normally put my gym membership card in my gym bag. For some strange reason I didn't. This turned out to be my saving grace. I showed the Chinese man my gym card, my drivers license and a school business card. I tried to ring two of the leaders of the school to explain my situation. No one answered the phone. I asked them to look after my groceries and that I would be back.

I went up to the gym and told Sarah (Chinese lady who works at the gym) my situation. Sarah came down to the supermarket with me. On the way back down to the supermarket I ran into three of my students. I asked them if they could also come with me to help.

I had four people in tow who could verify my story in Chinese. Eventually they opened the locker and I got my bag out.

Well they say things happen in 3. What else could go wrong.

I get back to the school campus and there appears to be about 15 students huddled outside the school gate and some angry security guards. I recognize these students as some of my students from last semester. They call out, "Bettina" others call out "Teacher" which is what you are commonly called in Chinese classrooms. I speak with them and they tell me that they do not have their Student ID cards the security guards will not let them in. I tell them that I will try and talk with the security guards given neither of us can understand the other.

I attempt to explain to the security guards that they are my students from the other campus. He gets angry at me and starts throwing his arms about. I ring a leader and explain the situation. I tell her that these are good students and I would let them in. In the meantime one of the students is also ringing his Chinese teacher who lives on this campus.

My leader speaks to the guards and tells the guard to let them in as my guests. The guard is not happy with me but the students get in.

Lets just hope that my judgment is correct.

I need a drink. But don't have anything. Maybe I should just go to bed now!

Posted by Bettinamc 05:04 Archived in China Comments (0)

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