There is no teacher - not yet. He is still in Australia. But the high school keeps asking when the teacher will come and teach.
So in the meantime my Peter has to fill in for a month. He is not about to go and live out at the school, he will have to commute.
That's okay, they said, there is a regular city bus that goes from Wuxi right to the school. It will take about thirty minutes. And he will be paid for travel time as well as teaching time.
So yesterday we decided to take the bus and time it. It took us 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop in Wuxi, (then we had to wait about 5 minutes). The bus stopped a mere 17 times (yeah! seventeen!) on the way there over bumpy out-of-town roads. The seats were all taken, we had to stand for most of the 40 minute ride. When we got off the bus we looked around and tried to guess which of the buildings was the actual school - they said the bus stops right outside. Well, it wasn't quite visible from the stop. It was down the road, around the corner, and along there over that hill - it took us 18 minutes at a fast clip.
When we got to the school it was a magnificent place. Wide open spaces - the sort of campus where a bike would be really useful. Again, a good 6 minutes walk from the front gate to the nearest teaching block. The teacher who greeted us was mildly amused that we had arrived by bus - how very traditional Chinese of us, she said.
So, on a good day - no rain or wind, no bags of books or materials to carry - it was an hour and a half trip, without allowing for getting-ready time in the classroom. And of course an hour and a half home again. That's a lot of overtime pay. If they stopped and thought about it long enough they would find it will cost them less to pay for a taxi than to pay for overtime ... saving an hour each way.
Of course the story that it was only a half-hour trip came from someone who never goes anywhere on a bus, and never walks further than the car park to the office.