Connecting Mandarin and English,
They Say "It's Hot!" - We Agree
(September 22, 2008) (return
may not be the hottest we've experienced, maybe not even the second hottest,
but to paraphrase the oldtimer when interviewed on TV, "I can't remember
ever feeling this hot!"
Why write about hot today? Last evening we
thought we'd take our initial voyage into the students' canteen for a change
of venue and menu. We chose the "take-out" styrofoam and wimped
to the AC apartment. The students are accustomed to this but today they
sat in class wiping their foreheads as the water dripped onto their papers.
Ten minutes before my 8:00AM class I turned off the AC and in those ten
minutes my back was dripping wet. I put a [flat] business card in my shirt
pocket, and two hours later I took it out, curled like a homemade cigarette.
The Oreo cookie on the table looks like Dali's clock. Walking down the street
sniffing the air remined me that hot weather significantly enhances the
growth of materials and stimualte the olfactory nerves. Whheew wee! We haven't
figured out why the heat is so intense; it's only 96F with 90% humidity.
AC spacesuits may be the garb of the day. And to think that for about a
month now, there's been frost at our former home in Alaska. Oh, yes, and
it doesn't cool down at night. Thank God, the Chinese invented fireworks
so they could trade with other countries for air conditioners.
Chronologically this is Gail's first day at
the new campus. The school bus, designed for faculty who ride free, and
paying students, if there's room, headed across town to this new campus
at about 7:15AM. Actually the latest arriving international English teacher
was on the bus also. This was good for Gail, but better for Sally
who has been here two days, has no books or preparation and teaches eight
hours today in a place she's never seen. She's young and isn't encumbered
with thoughts of lesson plans. She's also exuberant and will do great.
A note about the Chinese student
all call it the canteen. It's a large dining hall with counters
of food and windows around several sides. Most students come with
their own bowl, large enough for a scoop of rice and a couple toppings.
at the rice station. Two persons with large ladles scoop a heap
of a rice into your bowl. The source of that scoop of rice is a
large rectangular pot that seemed comparable to the bed of a small
pickup truck. That cost us about 5 jiao (about seven cents; also
equal to one-half yuan).
line were about four more stations with a server serving out of
about eight different dishes. Around the corner are more stations
where you can choose the food and they will cook it for you. Typically
a student chooses one or more different dishes. Cost at each station
varies ranging from three yuan (44 cents) for the meat dishes to
one and a half or one yuan (about 14 cent) for one scoop which is
enough for one person. The first night we spent about two and a
half yuan, also called RMB, which stands for "renminbi"
which in turn means people's currency. That two and a half yuan
equates out to about 35 cents.
second night we took our own bowl and did a bit of splurging; we
spent about 50 cents for the two of us. The food is delicious, thanks
to the fats and oils, and spicy. I think we'll be eating there more
often now that we know the routine and with our first forthcoming
paycheck, we can afford to eat out.