I got home pretty late, so I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I don’t have class on Mondays until 2:40 in the afternoon. How amazing is that??
The week ahead looks like spring – it’s supposed to stay above 20°C and there are reports of sunshine in store for us on Thursday! I celebrated the wonderful weather by taking a walk through campus to the West Gate for lunch. After some 肉丝炒饭 (fried rice with shredded pork), I decided to start seriously looking into my Thanksgiving options. First step: find turkey! I asked the boss of one of my favorite restaurants if they had huǒ jī and was a little confused when they started fishing around in a drawer and asking if I just wanted to use it there. That was when I realized that huǒ jī has two meanings: 火鸡 (turkey) and 火机 (lighter). Same syllables, same tones . . . awesome. Good thing I knew the characters, because I was able to write it down for clarification. It was a bust anyway – they didn’t have any and may have even said there is no turkey in all of China. (While I know that’s not true, it doesn’t bode well for finding any on this small island).
The walk back was also interesting. There’s a roundabout near West Gate that used to have a huge rock sculpture. It wasn’t until we saw them demolishing it last week that we realized that it was actually made of chicken wire and plaster. Anyway, there’s now a huge hole in the ground with a pile of bricks next to it and several masons inside, building a circular wall. It reminds me so much of my biogas digester! I stopped to talk to the workers for a little while and they said they’re making a pond. I think . . .
A lot of other projects on campus are progressing as well. There’s a huge science and art center that looked about done when I got here three months ago, but the just now demolished the wall that had been surrounding it. They use so much more concrete here; it’s really ridiculous. I think most of the buildings are concrete instead of wood or steel, and instead of using a fence to keep the construction site secure they built a 5-foot-high concrete wall. Anyway, hopefully the center will open soon and I’ll get to see what they’ve been working on for so long.
They’re also in the process of painting the trees. I don’t know why they do it, but they paint the tree trunks white up to chest height. I touched one and the ‘paint’ was still wet, but it brushed off like chalk after a few seconds. I wonder what will happen after the first rain??
Class this afternoon was hard and then my Chinese friend stood me up on our dinner plans. My plan for such days worked perfectly, though – I got my hair washed at my favorite place and walked back across campus, hair blowing in the wind, listening to my iPod. Back in my dorm, I finished watching Akeelah and the Bee and ate a bar of Hershey’s chocolate from back home. If there’s a problem in China that can’t be fixed by the aforementioned measures, I haven’t found it yet.
I’m feeling like watching another movie – I don’t feel guilty if it has Chinese subtitles :)