Thanksgiving Chinese style

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
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Trip End Oct 08, 2012


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Flag of China  , Zhejiang Sheng,
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Since I have no loved ones nearby I spent my Thanksgiving alone as usual.   I'm used to this after so many years in Utah but it is always a bit of a sad day for me.  Four of my best China friends sent me "Happy Thanksgiving" messages which does mean a lot to me.  It's still early morning in the States so I haven't heard from my US friends and relatives.  

Coldest day here so far--the temps were in the high 30's F this morning and never climbed much past 50 F during the day.   It was nearly dark when my last class ended at 4:50 but I spent the remaining light reading in my favorite coffee shop,  trying to get through F-Scott Fitzgeralds' work "This Side of Paradise",  which is a bit tough for me to follow the story, but the descriptions of life on campus 100 years ago were interesting to me.   They used to jump in cars and go on road trips back in 1912 apparently.   Even get into nasty DWI wrecks and stuff like that.   Similar to the "Great Gatsby" as far as the young, rich, pretentious,  partying all the time,  except the strong plot concerning Gatsby himself is absent as is anything equivalent.  But I admit not knowing much about fiction.  The book is fun to read for the history and the study of Fitz's fantastic descriptive writing.

    I stayed till well after dark and headed toward my part of town through the cold dark rush hour traffic with cars and throngs of people riding unlit e-bikes and pedal bikes going all directions like schools of fish with little outside lights to see anything except my own weak head light.   I'm used to it so it's not too scary,  just strange.   How more people don't get killed around here I will never know.    I cut across a neighboring college campus on this  particularly dark tonight,  not many streetlights in China; slowly and silently crossing the big campus,  between the trees and walkways;  students would silently appear from nowhere, like ghosts.  I was going slow enough to miss them,  many walking straight down the streets meant for cars.   The campus without lights was most eerie on a chilly humid night.

I landed at my ATM,  hoping to get some cash for the weekend but refusing to spend my last 500 yuan that is in my account.  I was thinking that they would pay us a day earlier than the official pay date of the 25th but that's not happening.   I had enough in my pocket for dinner and morning coffee so I left the 500 in and went to have my T-giving dinner at my favorite dumpling place.   Although the temperature was 49 degrees the restaurant had both doors open so I couldn't stay there too long.   I did have one rack of 10 dumplings,  and ordered two duck legs and some rice to take home.  Total cost was 21 yuan which is a steal for all that food.   I am soon about to eat the duck and have a stalk of sugar cane for dessert.   Washed it all down with water.  Been drinking water and tea and avoiding wine or alcohol during the week which is pretty easy to do when your job is as stress free as mine is.  

Friday Nov 25th:   After my wonderful Thanksgiving all alone I got up early and grabbed a cup of coffee at the Casa Miel before rushing back home to meet my driver for the long scary trip to the Xincheng campus.   Traffic was much lighter than normal and we arrived 30 minutes early.  I showed up to my class and all my students were already there and practicing their singing.   They seemed to enjoy showing off for their teacher and sounded pretty good.   After teaching for a few hours the driver took us back but this time went through Hangzhou from west to east instead of the highway we usually take.  The route was much more interesting and I finally got to see parts of the city that I have never seen.  Hangzhou is considered by the Chinese to be one of the nicest cities in China,  with canals going through and of course the mighty Qiantang snakes through the metropolis.  On the SW side of the city are mountains and the famous "West Lake" and all it's ancient pagodas, palaces, temples, tea houses, ect.. 

   Xiasha is technically part of Hangzhou,  but it is an Island of a new university city approximately 15 Kilometers from the main part of Hangzhou.   I didn't even know it was possible to ride a bike into the main city,  but now I know that this is possible.    Tomorrow I plan to take my folding bike by taxi to the old Mingtown Youth Hostel where I plan to meet up with my friend Brian from Boston and another friend Shane from OZ and his girlfriend.   I barely know these folks but we met on different internet sites and have become good friends.   My good friend "Vincent" works for Mingtown so I will get to see him as well.  I plan to go bike riding around the back side of the lake to get some fall foliage pics then meet up with the others for a dinner tomorrow night.   I will probably stay Sunday and do some more riding,  before returning to Xiasha on Monday.   This is my first planned trip since I moved here  (The Suzhou trip was more like a school field trip.).   My main expense will be the 10 dollar cab fare to get there and a 10 dollar per night space in a Mingtown dorm (hope my snoring doesn't piss everyone off too bad).
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Comments

Samantha on

Happy belated Thanksgiving!!

Maries Omy on

Hey, think you write absolutely beautifully, love the angle from which your heart operates. Who would have thought? I intend coming to ZSCU next year for a year long Chinese Lang training...hopefully, you'll still be there.

Please keep it coming, and yes, a Google search on any thing xiasha totally brings you here.

Cheers and greetings from Africa.

albarnes
albarnes on

Thanks for the kind words. I do hope that I am around next year to meet you.

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