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My first time in China

My first trip to China by Neville McGann (Max) Part 1

     Shenzhen is a magical place. It's very easy to get around. I purchased a metro card, which you top up as you please and simply scan it. It works on all the underground trains and all the buses. I have not waited any longer than 5 minutes for a bus or train. And always on time. Both the buses and underground have voice recordings in English and Chinese telling you the name of each stop. The metro also clearly prints it on digital screens on all trains.
    After only 4 days at work I was told that I was on holiday for a week. It's an annual Chinese holiday. Schools, banks etc all close for 7 days. I spent the weekend doing lesson plans and eating at the street stalls. I love the food. My favourite vendor who we named, 'Kenny', has a stand, only 2 minutes walk from the apartment. I have barbecued fish, pork, beef, chicken, chili, French beans, scallions, aubergine (egg plant), along with lots of meat and veg. I eat a lot of meat despite not knowing what most of it is.
    He also does barbecued tofu which is gorgeous, I detested it at home but whatever way he does it, I love the flavour and texture. A full meal of meat and veg costs about €1.75. Very few of the Westerners will eat at the stalls, they sit and drink beer while I eat. Except Joel of course. He is married to an Indonesian woman. Like me, he eats anything and everything. We like to support the locals.
    All the taxi mopeds have umbrellas, so if it rains I hop on one. It's always RMB 5; about 70cents. Other friends I have made are Joe,  Charlie,  Matt and Gemma,  Paul, Gavin, Sherrie and Carol. I have also made friends with Mars and Jenny who are Chinese and live on the floor above;  Mars owns a gym which I went to with him. It was like the gym in Rocky 1 or Million dollar baby. I loved it. No worrying about germs or spray bottles. No shower facilities either. You just go there in your gym gear, work out, go home and shower. Perfect!! All the lads were doing upper body weights and all the girls were on the treadmills. Over the next academic year I made a lot of new Chinese friends, some worked in restaurants, others night clubs, bars and of course, my colleagues.
    I became particularly attached to the Head of the English department, Nancy. She would regularly drive me home after school and we would often have dinner together. She was happily married to an Engineer and they have a lovely daughter whom I taught English to, privately, along with 3 of her friends.
‘Ni hao’, pronounced Knee how, is ‘Hello’ in Mandarin. I have got the Westerners saying “Ni hao’s it going?” much to the annoyance of  Sherrie, who keeps correcting us. The mandarin for 'thank you' is 'xie xie and 'thank you very much' is 'xin ku le'. I have my own version which is 'than ku le'.

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    One of the craziest people I have met in my life is Sherrie.  I met her on my first day at the apartment block .A Chinese lady who had lived in Australia for 10 years. She has a boyfriend and a lover, both of whom live in Beijing. Her insider knowledge and bilingual ability have been of enormous help to me. She has taken me shopping, helped me open a bank account, showed me numerous locations of interest. Two days ago we went to a housing complex near here. The president of China, Xi Jin Ping, has his own holiday complex next door.
    She told the security guards that we were married and were looking for a house. Within minutes a salesman showed up. The prices went from RMB 30,000,000.00 to RMB 130,000,000.00. €4 million to €18 million. We viewed 5 houses including a 6 storey mansion for €18 million. Sherrie waffled on to the salesman throughout the hour long tour. I don’t know what she said but the salesman thanked me afterwards, gave me his card, asked for my number and has since befriended me on We Chat, the Chinese FB.
    Next we went to an exclusive driving range where Sherrie told security that I was going to join. It was €500 up front and then they take €4 off that every time you get a basket of balls. I didn’t join. We had Tibetan tea with the manageress who insisted on having her photo taken with me. Next she bluffed our way into a luxury resort which was on a huge lake and only €100 per night.

However, Sherri is an absolute head case. Below are some of the things she has said to me:
“My room is a dick free zone. ”
When I told her my toilet was blocked, she said: “Do a little shit, flush, little shit flush, little paper flush, little paper, flush. Don’t do a ton of shit altogether.”
“When I am horny I use eggplant”
Her advice on dating fellow workers. “Don’t mix your rice with your noodles”
“When you are in my room you save me money on electricity because your shiny head reflect light”
“Did you shoot your canon last night?”
“In your life you must have sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy”
“Do you teach your students phallics?” (She meant phonics)
“Max, many Western teachers come to me for help, I do not have enough titties to feed them all”
My boyfriend sang to me: “I’m Chinese, down on my knees, ready to please” ” I punch him in face”
“Women are like clothes, you change them when you like”
“Women are like chess pieces, you move them where you want”
“If you behave badly towards your wife or girlfriend you will light the fuse of badness in her and she will explode.”
Yesterday she knocked on my door. I shouted for her to wait a minute as I was brushing my teeth. She roared from the hallway: “Sorry Max are you having a shit?” I let her in and sprayed deodorant under my arms, she lifted up her leg and said, “spray here please.”
    Shortly after, Sherrie took me to a huge market beside Europe town. Europe town is where you go for anything American or European. I don’t go there as I like to buy the local produce and food. IKEA is there, and they were selling self assembly reclining leather office chairs for €100.  I bought a similar one locally for €40 and a member of staff brought me and the chair home in a van,  and carried the chair up 5 flights of stairs, and would not take a tip. (Our elevator was not installed until months later)

    Tipping is not expected or encouraged. Anyway, I loved the market, it had everything from cooked duck to live pigeon. Whole pigs cut into pieces. Eels, etc. No dogs or cats. There is only once restaurant serving dog that I am aware of and have not seen cat anywhere except as pets.
    On the way home I visited a coconut vendor and a sugar cane vendor. For the coconut they cut off the husk, make a whole and put in a straw. It weights about 2kg and I walked along sipping the milk through the straw. The sugar cane goes in one end of a machine and juice comes out the other end into a plastic bottle. It's all attached to an electric bike. The government does not allow petrol bikes anymore, only electric, due to pollution. Nice one!!!!
     I played badminton with Dane (Yank),  Joel (Canadian) and Clark (local teacher). The majority of Chinese have a Chinese name and an English name.  Sherrie, Betty, Fiona etc. I had not played badminton in 10 years but it was great fun. I lost about a pint of fluid through my pores. Last night I met up with Paul, a Salthill (Galway) head who used to drink in PJ’s in Salthill. Gas man, Gave up the drink; now he spends his time “dating”.
    Shortly after arriving, my boss asked me to meet and greet a new Yank, Mark. What a cool dude! He has acted with Charlie Sheen, Will Smith and several others. He also knows the “Entourage cast” and even some of the original friends of Mark Walberg, who the series is about. He has the new Entourage movie which I am going to watch tonight. He is a couple of  years younger than me and has a similar track record.
    Mark is about 6 feet 4 and 18 stone. We went out  for a beer  and were being stared at by the locals. I reckon they were thinking, “Wow they come in different shapes and sizes. Lovely friendly guy. We planned on going to Thailand for a weekend to see some of his lady friends. €160 return from an airport which is only ten minutes away, plus we stay with his friends.
     He has really travelled. He earned $40k  in 7 months teaching English in Saudi and then spent the following year touring Asia . This was his first job since Saudi. He is planning to open a Mark Walberg burger joint. He knows Mark Walberg and the two brothers who is in partnership with. Unfortunately he did not settle in Shenzhen and is back in Saudi. It is not everyone's cup of tea

Wow! What a Story! Thanks for sharing that!

It was quite interesting for me to read about your experience of what your Trip to China was/is like

haha see what 10 years in Australia will do to a girl?! :)

If you must know, that I for one also had a very bad experience when I was in China and also in Hong Kong too!

It was horrible in fact!

So funny.  Australian girls are so bad!  LOL!

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