Who says that Guangzhou doesn’t have blue skies? Anders for one. He told everyone (I may be exaggerating a bit when I say everyone) last week in Switzerland and France that GZ is polluted and we rarely see blue sky. Well compared to other places it may not be as frequent an occurrence but you gotta take what you can get. I defended GZ and told people that compared to Beijing we have it pretty good and we do indeed have days of puffy white clouds and bright sunshine. And to prove my point our first day back was beautiful. I think the clouds cleared out to mock Anders and to remind him that GZ also can be pretty! The proof is in the photos. I LOVE MY VIEW! 🙂
Now by contrast, Ben and I got stuck driving home today in a downpour of biblical proportions. Actually I was in the grocery store when it started. He was waiting at the exit with an umbrella for me and we foolishly made a dash for the car with my bags. We were soaked, not sure why we even bothered with umbrellas! We looked like we had taken showers with our clothes on. The good thing is we laughed about it and I got a few stories about people driving, the river, and all kinds of tidbits about torrential downpours in GZ. I have never experienced anything quite like it and even GZ drivers were pulling off the to the side of the road. Not Ben. Oh no. We plowed through the puddles and lakes and ponds and storm drain overflows and rivers! This will make for good dragon boat races this weekend!
6:30PM – 80°
Almost two weeks ago Anders and I flew to Switzerland. We had a layover in Doha, Qatar. We landed at 4:45 AM local time. We were faced with a 4 1/2 hour layover. I wasn’t particularly tired because it was 10:45 AM China time. As I was sitting in the airport I was struck by how diverse the passengers were that were walking through. I started to write down everything that I saw to pass the time. The more I saw, the more I wrote, and the more obvious it became that I had to share what I saw. I’m amazed at how extensive the list is. I was going to try to do something witty with it but there is so much to sift through, I’m still a tad jet-lagged, and I have a Chinese homework assignment due tomorrow that I should have done before I left but was too busy and now I don’t know how I’ll ever do a decent job, so I’m just gonna lay it out there as it was written. OK, I will try to spell things correctly but I can’t even promise that will be done.
- Indian nuns and Indian Catholic priests, Sikhs, Muslims, Orthodox Catholics, Buddhists, and probably atheists but they’re not so obvious
- Chinese men wearing cowboy hats
- Robes on men, robes on women, robes on children
- A man wearing a T-shirt that read “Pennsylvania Migratory Birds”, I actually have written “Pennsylvania Migrant Birds” but that can’t possibly be correct!
- Very large American man wearing flowered board shorts
- Corn rows, dreadlocks, bald heads, afros, a 50-ish woman with dyed black hair but her crown was candy-apple red (my P&G haircare husband was impressed)
- Kids crying, kids running, kids being dragged, and parents losing their patience 🙂
- Babies in strollers, babies being carried, babies in back-packs and front slings
- Every hair, eye, and skin color on the planet
- Burqas, saris
- Grannies and granddads, couples, families, and singles
- People rushing, some looking lost and bewildered, and others sleeping (on benches, not on their feet)
- Asians, Africans, Middle-Easterners, Indians, Europeans, I’m sure Aussies and Kiwis, Americans (sneakers and flip-flops are a dead giveaway!), and I wouldn’t be surprised if a scientist from Antarctica was making his way back home. I’m certain that every continent was represented.
- Baseball caps – flaps front, flaps back, and flaps Chav-aliciously sideways 🙂
- Skull caps, fedoras, hoodies, turbans (so many styles), visors, Rasta caps and a pink beach hat that was about 3 feet in diameter!
- Chinese tour groups – the only obvious tour groups which was surprising, the fact that they were the only tour group not that Chinese travel in tours
- Sunglasses on the face, the head, hanging from pockets, and collars
- Boarding passes in hands, front pockets, back pockets, and hanging out of backpacks, carry-ons, and purses (shouldn’t they be more careful?)
- THE BAGS OF DUTY FREE MERCHANDISE, because unlike the GZ airport at 11:00 PM in which most of the lights were turned off everything in this airport was open at 5AM
- Chinese women doing their “walking thing” of swinging their arms, stretching hands, twisting their wrists, patting arms and legs. They did NOT walk backwards but I’m sure that if it hadn’t been so crowded they would have
- The most beautiful collection of scarves! I was so inspired that I bought 2 in France. I do love scarves, right SG?
- MC Hammer pants seem to be popular with western women. I’m guessing they saw Eat, Pray, Love and were inspired
- coffee cups, water bottles, baby bottles, liquor bottles in those duty-free bags, Coke cups
- A bald man who had the back of his head tattooed. OUCH!
- A woman wearing a burqa carrying a Louis Vuitton bag
- Clark Kent/Superman is German and went to Columbia Business School
- iPods, iPads, iPhones, laptops, Kindles and other eBooks, Nintendo DS – Steve Jobs must be smiling from wherever he is!
- WHITE PANTS GUY as I lovingly tagged him. A westerner with the hair ridge greased up going down the middle of his head (not a mohawk but you know what I’m talking about), suspenders, and the TIGHTEST, WHITEST, THINNEST pants I’ve ever seen a man wear outside of a ballet! He had something else on underneath but I need to keep this clean, kids might be reading. 😉
- and me, 5 pounds lighter in weight than I am currently 😦 but every glass of wine and beer, breakfast croissant and pain au chocolat was worth it 😉
Yeah, it was quite entertaining and the best people-watching EVER!
8PM – 87°
I have been a very bad girl this past month. I was in the US for 2 weeks so I knew I wouldn’t write while there (although I did manage to post one article). I thought after I returned and recovered from jet-lag that I would get back to it but alas, that did not happen. The past 2 1/2 weeks have been busier than anticipated.
I started my training to become a Berlitz English teacher. The actual training class time was 2 1/2 days but I also had on-line modules to complete and demo classes to prepare for as well. It took more time than I thought and truthfully I suffered from brain-drain. OK..maybe the training isn’t the only reason for brain-drain but I’ll continue to delude myself with that. 😉 While in the process of training, I actually started teaching! That’s trust. My new student is a Chinese businessman who is a bit above beginner level. I was nervous for the first minute but when I saw how much more nervous he was my nerves settled. He was very nice and was a happy camper when he left. Hopefully if he was told that it was my first time teaching the Berlitz method and that I hadn’t even finished training he would have been surprised. I NEVER expected to start so soon but it in the end it was perfect. The first class is the toughest and I got that out of the way sooner than I expected.
Now I have 2 days left to prepare for another trip. Anders and I are off to Geneva and France. I haven’t been back to Geneva since I left 4 years ago. Words can’t express how excited I am to see good friends, visit favorite restaurants, shop, and soak up the experience of Geneva. Tuesday we head to Avignon where we’ll spend a few days exploring Provence. The last family trip we took before leaving 4 years ago was to the south of France and it was our favorite trip of all (not an easy feat considering the amazing vacations we had in the 5 years we were in Europe). After 3 days there we will drive for an hour or so and go to a little village to attend our Pub Brother’s wedding celebration. I don’t know how you snagged her my FFF (Fine Finnish Friend) but somehow you convinced her! This is going to be so much fun and again, it’s a chance to catch up with dear friends. Talk about a small world – my FFF’s mother lives in a city about 1 1/2 from Guangzhou! I can’t wait to meet her.
So it’s another trip away, another few days to get over jet-lag, and then hopefully I’ll start writing regularly again. I can’t promise daily posts anymore but I will try to write once a week if not twice.
My student, you ask? What will he do while I’m away for the next 10 days? He was headed to the airport after class on Monday for a business trip and doesn’t come back until after I do. Sometimes things have a way of working out for the best.
12:30 PM – 94°