September 5, 2004

Trip Start Aug 08, 2004
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Trip End Aug 2005


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Sunday, September 5, 2004

So many bizarre things seem to happen on a daily basis, and I think I'm becoming immune to it. I checked out the Massage Hospital down the street, which is entirely staffed by blind masseuses and for basically $4 US, I received an hour-long full body massage. Back in the States, Robyn gave me a Chinese phrase book as a going away present and I remember laughing at phrases like "Please massage my head only." I never dreamed that lines like that would actually come in handy.

Josh took us on a late-night adventure to sample a Changsga specialty called "tasty shrimp" at a nearby restaurant. Because it was raining, they set up card tables for us across the street in an underpass, right next to oncoming traffic and about 20 feet from a homeless man sleeping in the gutter. The shrimp, or crawdads, were cooked in hot sauce so potent that the restaurant gave us plastic gloves to wear while eating them. We washed this all down with beer-cans of luke-warm PBR, no less! I paid for that culinary experience for a day or two...The other night a few of us decided to check out Martyr's Park late at night to see what sort of interesting people come out after hours. Nothing too crazy; just a lot of young couples hiding in the shadows. We stumbled across a karaoke stage around 11pm, drew quite a crowd with a rousing rendition of "Like a Virgin," and even walked away with a copy of our performance on dvd. Another night the entire group went out to a place called Glamour (literally, its name in Chinese means "my beauty is scattered to the four winds") thinking that we were going to a dance club, and it ended up being a strip show. Leather and chains and the whole bit.

During orientation we taught a weeklong summer camp at Changsha Number One Middle School, sort of as a trial run for the upcoming school year. My class was comprised of 30 eighth graders of varying abilities in English. The kids were great, a lot of fun and very energetic. Whoever said that Chinese children would be reserved and well disciplined was sadly misinformed. I tried to play as many games with them as possible, although with 30 kids there were moments of absolute pandemonium. I am looking forward to beginning classes at my own school and getting to know my students.
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