Sunday, November 06, 2005

Safe and sound in Chengdu

Did I say I'd post again in 12 hours? I must have forgotten that being in China for the first time just might entail some other demands on my time. Like, uh, learning Chinese. Yeah. I'm working on that, though. I know enough phrases now so I can at least get the waiters to bring me something without meat in it. Learning Chinese is the reason I came over here, so I'm making it a priority. To support myself though, I also have a job, teaching high school English. Although it's a foreign language, obviously, so it's not "high school English" as in reading 'Brave New World'. It's as in "What do you like to do? I like to play basketball/I like to play computer games/I like to go shopping..."

For those just joining us, I'm in Chengdu. It's a city of 10-12 million officialy, but the unregistered occupants might make it around 15 million. That's almost half Canada's population just in this city. There's everything here, bright lights, big buildings, lots of people, lots of shopping, eating, clubbing, playing, working, living, dying. You know, the city life. The clubbing and shopping aren't really my thing, though I have been buying a lot of stuff (mostly food) because it's one of the easiest ways for me to practice my fledgling Chinese. Speaking of which, that's another good high school English book: The Fledgling. I did a book report on it (FYI). So there's everything here but English. And caucasians. I'm still adjusting to being stared at everywhere I go. And they don't stare discreetly, either. It's very much like being a monkey in a zoo. And that's actually how I decided that this post's song would be "Like a Monkey in a Zoo" by Daniel Johnston. Enjoy:

(Just click for music)

8 comments:

laura said...

Wow! A huge statue of Chairman Mao! What is that building? Explain your pictures! Is there fall foliage there? I have too many questions.
I love you.

khris said...

looks like an uncharted territory ahead of you :)
as for food, i'd be fine there since i love chinese food :D

take care xox

Matthew said...

I love you too Laura (and you all, don't anybody feel left out) but as for explaining photos, I promised posts of 300 words or less and I stand by that, man. So yeah, I have more to say, but that's where e-mail comes in.

Quickly though: no fall foliage, nope. There's everything from pine trees to weird maples to palm trees to bamboo, and apparently some things do lose their leaves here, but we're the 8th of November and they haven't done it yet...

That building behind Mao is some government building near the centre of town. Covered by bamboo scaffolding. It's surrounded by much taller buildings just out of the frame.

The top picture is also near the city centre. China youth shopping... what can I say?

PINKSandROSES said...

so what do they have to eat there? i don't know if i would be down to eat just anything considering i couldn't speak chinese and i'm a really picky eater...

fehqv, (look at me embracing the word verification)
jess

Jenny said...

Hey Matt - I had no idea there were so many folks in Chengdu ... our group only spent a night there. Good luck with the food thing - I just learned how to say Kung Pao Chicken and then had it all the time! I believe it was in Chengdu that our group was served ma. Thankfully our waiter told us what it was before I tried it. My horse, Daisy would never understand (ok, so I've never had or wanted a horse, but it makes my story better :)

Anyhoo, I look forward to hearing more about your exciting adventures!

Alice said...

aw, poor matthew in a zoo!! my college roommate went and taught japanese in a teeny japanese town and had the same experience... kids actually stopped and stared and pointed and stuff. sounds.. weird :-)

S said...

yeah, Mao statue: impressive. wow, your in China!

Joe Krahn said...

If my experiences in Japan are any indication, people will continue to stare but you'll just notice it less. I'm glad to hear that you made it to China. Good luck with the language. I'm trying to learn how to read the Chinese characters 'cause they use them here in Japan too, but it's been tough. Hopefully you'll have more luck than I have had. Take it easy.
-Joe