Friday, June 20, 2008

Jinan Check In

As I mentioned in my last entry I flew from Hangzhou (Near Shanghai) to Guangzhou (Near Hong Kong). I didn’t have any problems during the plane flight except for my luggage was overweight. I was packing extremely light by American airplane standards, but I was 14 Kilograms over for Shanghai Airlines. While I was at Eau Claire I had studied Chinese with a professor from Jinan University. He agreed to meet me at the airport and help me get checked into my dorm.

After picking me up from the airport we went to a really fancy Chinese restaurant in Guangzhou. The Cantonese really like to go out to eat, and they are good at it! I was really out of place because I was wearing jean shorts and a t-shirt but it didn’t seem to matter.

After eating we headed to the university to start checking in. I would have been in trouble if I didn’t have a friend to help me check in because of all the different procedures we had to go through. We went from building to building trying to sign all the forms, get a student ID card, etc.

My room and bed. I have a double room to my self right now so there are two beds. The water machine is necessary because I can’t drink the water. And yes that colored pad is what I sleep on, it is feeling more and more comfortable every day!

I am living in an “Overseas Chinese” dorm with students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. (Foreign students are not allowed to live with Mainland Chinese students) I found out the hard way that Chinese students don’t like soft beds. The beds they provide are just wooden boards, many of the students buy thin pads; I bought a ¾ inch pad which I am getting used to! I have my own bathroom/shower which is nice. Showers here are different; there is a shower head on the wall and a drain in the floor, no separate stall so the bathroom basically is the shower. There is only hot water from 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm so I have to get used to taking night showers. This shouldn’t be a problem though because I am not used to the hot sticky weather so I am ready for a shower when bed time comes.

The view from my room/drying clothes on my balcony

I also have my own balcony; not because my dorm is luxurious but because there are no dryers here so everyone hangs their clothes outside. Many of the “Overseas Chinese” have washing machines but most of the “Mainland Chinese” students just wash their clothes in a bucket. I am cheap in America and even though I am in China I am still cheap so I will wash my clothes in a bucket for now. I may pick up a used washing machine for about $80 when the students graduate in a month though.

I have an air conditioner in my room which is nice but I also bought mosquito netting for my bed if I choose to sleep with the balcony doors open. After we got the room ready we went out to eat again! This time with another professor, we ate more good authentic Chinese food. I am learning a lot about Chinese culture through eating which I will talk about in later posts. After dinner I unpacked more things and then went to bed because I was exhausted!

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