Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Indian Summer in China

Thankfully the pollution I talked about in this post has completely disappeared, replaced with sunshine, fluffy clouds, and a temperature that can only be a result of global warming (see right). It has been about 30 degrees centigrade for two days and it is nearly November! It certainly felt like Autumn last week here, but now we have gone back in time to summer again. I don't know what clothes I should be wearing from day to day.

I have vivid memories of November 5th --Bonfire Night -- in England. At night we would be stuck outside shivering around a fire and watching the fireworks exploding in the sky. Usually it is a requirement to wear thick clothes, a coat, woolly hat, and gloves as it is always so cold at that time of year. To think that now I am sitting here exactly two weeks before Bonfire Night with my fan on and wearing a t-shirt because it is still too hot at 10pm, is completely baffling to me. I'm sure it wasn't anything like this when I was in Hangzhou one year ago.

Next week is also Halloween, and of course we have to celebrate it at Web. I was asked by Grace, my manager, to accompany her and the boss to check out a bar yesterday night to see if it would be a suitable location to hold the party. I didn't really do anything when we arrived, I just said it was great and walked around. It is the teachers job to think of some games to play on the night, apart from bobbing for apples I have no other ideas. They have also asked me to find some suitable music for the night. Apart from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" I'm out of ideas -- again.

On a side note, I was also quite shocked to note that many people (including a couple of the teachers) seem to think that Halloween derives from America. When I mentioned to somebody that the holiday is an ancient Pagan festival from the Celts in Ireland, I got the retort "No, it was the Pagans who came to America who started it then." I must have missed that History class when the Celts came to America one thousand years before Christopher Columbus even discovered it.

When I returned back from looking at the bar, one of the students had brought their dog with them, it was half the size of one of my cats (see below). I have found that little dogs have become all the craze in Wenzhou now. Everybody is required by law to have two things to be a real citizen of the city: a huge Porsche (one of these), and a dog small enough to fit in your wallet.

One of my colleagues, Mabel, with the tiny tiny dog -- which peed all over the carpet less than a minute after taking this


Ihengsi said...

It's absolutely stunning to me that there are so many of those Porches and BMW 7 series (and a few Ferraris as well) in Wenzhou. Those are expensive luxury cars in the USA. But in China, they cost twice as much due to heavy taxes.

Elwin said...

probably could try some heavy metal as background music, like Rob Zombie, which sounds horrible but not extremely harsh. Maybe some gothic music could also be considered.

Chris said...

I am continually shocked when I see all of the big expensive cars on the road too. I don't know how they can afford them. When I lived in Hangzhou one of my neighbours had one of those Porsches, and that was in my very (very) modest community, it didn't add up at all.

Thanks for the music advice Elwin, I'll have a look at Rob Zombie. I've got a few more tracks now after looking in iTunes, I just get the feeling they won't think it's suitable!

Alex said...

It always staggers me that the Chinese play the we are a developing country card when it comes to a language teachers pay, meanwhile there are plenty of foreign imported cars being driving around, guzzling up god knows how much petrol for their engines.

As I stated in my previous post, it's time for China to set standards and enforce them, this means setting minimum qualifications for teachers and paying them accordingly well for taking their time to come to China. Paying your own airfare to earn around 6-700 pounds a month at some training centre?

Once they have learned that teachers need incentive and good conditions to teach, then things will change, but I'm not holding my breath. And they wonder why so many jaded teachers head to the gulf countries where the salary is more handsome and living conditions generally better.