Sunday, September 26, 2004


Today is Tuesday here - well, "day 2" in the timetable. I have no lessons this morning, but three this afternoon at 2.50, 3.45 and 4.40. That last one is a real killer, "graveyard shift"! It finishes at 5.25pm when my stomach is telling me its time for tea, and the students are all sitting there counting down the minutes. Mind you, they have more lessons after tea, but at least they do get a break before them.
With this being a private college our students don't have to do all the "political training". We can hear them at another uni/college/school not far from here from early morning til late at night. Sounds like a polital rally, calling and shouting and repeating slogans at the tops of their voices.

Last night we went to a wedding. Our deputy principal was getting married and invited all the staff to a special dinner at the college. It was a nice change from the usual rice and wild gourd laced with hot peppers. Its amazing what "the smoking man" (our canteen chef who regularly comes and watches us eat, and yells complaints at us in Chinese out of the corner of his mouth, while puffing smoke all over us) can come up with when he puts his mind to it!!

Anyway, there were lots of speeches. Everyone laughed a lot - except the few of us at our table who are "foreign teachers"! No one would give us a translation. Then there was the drinking ceremony, which went on while the traditional Chinese feasting went ahead - plates being brought out and placed on the “lazy susan” in the middle of each table and everyone pulling bits off with their chopsticks. Fortunately we are reasonably adept with our chopsticks now. The bride and groom and MC went to each guest with a tray with three little cups, like egg cups, and a bottle of their "white wine". It is a strong liqueur, smells foul, and obviously there is no need to clean the cups between use, nothing could live in that!

Peter did his bit - drank his three cups for the happiness of the couple. But I just told them my doctor wouldn't let me - I was finding it a bit stressful. The single Canadian guy had got himself tanked up before he even went and was in fine form refilling everyone's glasses and talking loudly. The tiny Canadian lady went ahead and drank her three, whispering "save me Jesus" between each one, and then sat down swinging her legs, and with her face going all shades of red and purple. The Sri Lankan, a Moslem, sat and neither ate nor drank the whole time. Our new Filipina teacher, sitting next to me, got louder and more drunk - until she ate a lolly and discovered she had a hole in her tooth. She wasn't drunk enough to cover that pain! We were most relieved when the party suddenly broke up at about 9.30pm.

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