Another Day In Gongbei

on Sunday, 31 October 2010

We get up and have some breakfast and sort a fw things out in the morning. By the time we go to Gongbei it is already nearly midday. We play a bit of pool then I do some go karting, I manage to get my time down to below 1 minute, in fact 5 seconds faster than last time. Waiyi doesn’t want to do it so I end up going round by myself. We then get a bit of food and look at some of the shops. It is getting quite cold here now so for the first time in 8 months I need to get some winter clothes, as I just have the one fleece. I don’t end up buying anything because I am a bit short of money at the moment and have at least 2 more weeks to go before I can start working and then it will be a month before I get paid and a month in Hong Kong will be expensive, especially if I have to pay rent upfront. We get back to the apartment and Waiyi helps with some of my grammar test, then we go and get some food. She has some frog with rice and stupidly I get the Hawaiian pizza which is basically a cheese pizza with no tomato and a tin of fruit dumped on top. It is disgusting! I then take Waiyi to the port and she heads back to Hong Kong until next weekend. I get the bus back and spend an hour sitting in the square outside the school where they have a stage and they have some singers performing and I right the blog, which I need to be writing more regularly not trying to remember 2 weeks worth of stuff. Tomorrow it’s back to school. We are half way through though now, just hoping I can sort a job out in Hong Kong before the end of the course, fingers crossed.

Waiting For Waiyi

on Saturday, 30 October 2010

Today I get up quite late as I am still feeling quite ill. I watch some films and then in the afternoon go and pick Waiyi up. She has been playing basketball so had to come late. She misses the first ferry so instead of waiting decides to get a ferry to Macau and then cross over the border from there. This ferry ends up being delayed and she doesn’t arrive till 8:30pm. We get a bus back to GLV and have some dinner and a beer at the ice bar, before going to sleep.

Really Bad Lesson

on Friday, 29 October 2010

Today we had to teach another lesson. This time it was at a local private school. This one is a richer school than the first one though. Again I was last, This time we had different grades of students. I had level 6 and the lesson went dreadfully. I forgot a few steps in the lesson plan and the kids were not paying attention and causing lots of trouble. It was disappointing and I realise I need to practice the lesson a lot more before going in there. Hopefully next time it will go much better. Afterwards we all went back to the school and as our next lesson is not till Friday of next week and the afternoon was for lesson planning most people went home. I stayed and wrote my CV though and sent it off to the TEFL person in Hong Kong. Fingers crossed I will be able to get some work there. In the evening I watch some TV I have downloaded, Spooks and we go out for some food and a few drinks to celebrate some peoples birthdays. There is a Halloween party at the school, so we go and have a look, after we have a quick drink at the bar before going back and watching a film. I go to sleep quite early because I am starting to feel a bit tired and ill. Waiyi will come over to visit again for the weekend, but will not arrive until late because she has a basketball match in the morning.

Learning A New Model

on Thursday, 28 October 2010

Today we learn a new teaching model, a multimedia model for the first half of the day and then we have lesson planning in the afternoon, ready for our next lesson on Friday. I have already done most of it though so can finish early. Me, Renee and Matt go into town and do a bit of shopping, before going back to Matts to watch a film.

First Lesson By Ourselves

on Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Today we have lessons in the morning again, we are split into to groups of 4 and mine is the last lesson of one group. I watch Matt and Donna first, then Kathryn and then it was me. We have a class of about 25, 14 year olds. The kids are much smarter and more well behaved and the lesson goes brilliantly, with me only forgetting a few little things. After the lessons we are swamped with the kids wanting autographs and emails and to shake our hands. It is a amazing and the kids are so keen to learn and are so excited and hard working.  We go back to the school and do an evaluation of the class and a bit more planning, tomorrow we have a day of teaching, with another class on Friday. We go and watch a film at Matts again after having a few drinks in bar street.

Shared Teaching Practice

on Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Today we have a shared teaching practice. We have to teach a class in a pair. My partner is Kathryn. I am very nervous and although we complete the lesson, it isn’t that great and although in my review they say i was not nervous, I felt more nervous than I have ever felt. We go back and start planning for our individual teaching practice. I start to think whether this is the right thing for me to be doing.

Planning For Our Shared Teaching Practice

on Monday, 25 October 2010

Today we spend the whole day planning for our shared teaching practice. Our dialogue is quite simple, but we are visiting a very poor private school in Zhuhai, so have no idea how competent the kids will be and whether it will be too hard for them. I am very nervous about the lesson tomorrow and hope it doesn’t get too bad.

Hangover

on Sunday, 24 October 2010

Today I get up late and Waiyi gets up even later at about midday. We go and play some pool and that evening we do some work and then go for a meal with my classmates. I take Waiyi to the port and she gets the 9:30pm ferry back to Hong Kong.

Tour Of Zhuhai

on Saturday, 23 October 2010

This morning we go on a tour of the city. Waiyi is arriving at about midday. Brad our teacher shows us where to get a bus pass and where and which busses we can get to some areas of town, including the Macau border. We visit the underground market and the DVD shop which Brad has built up a collection of over 2000 DVDs from. We meet Waiyi at the port and then go to have a foot massage, one hour only costs 25 yuan and it is great! We stop of at the local market and get Waiyi to buy us a chicken and some other food for dinner. We then go for a meal at Brads, where Lydiah cooks some food for us. We get quite drunk and go and play a bit of pool before going to sleep, very late.

Racism At The Karaoke Bar

on Friday, 22 October 2010

Tonight me Renee and Tim go for some drinks at a local bar under GLV, we play some dice and the beers are only 6 Yuan for a pint, so we end up drinking quite a lot. We get chatting to some of the teachers who actually work here, who say they do absolutely no work. I end up being invited to a party at a karaoke bar, so go along with them. When I arrive the Chinese guy whose party it is, is not happy there are so many foreigners at the party and gets annoyed and makes me leave, saying things like “dirty white man”, “I hate white guys”. The first instance of racism I have ever seen in my time in china. I don’t want any trouble so just go back to the apartment. When I get there I find my room mate has locked the door from the inside, even though we were told numerous times to not do this. I bang on the door but get no answer and as my phone is dead I can’t ring. So I end up sleeping in the corridor, not happy. Then in the morning, I ring the bell and knock again, but still no answer, at 8am I go to the school and find some other classmates so I can ring and get the door opened. I go and get the door opened and he says “ he heard me knocking but couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed”, the guy is an absolute moron!

Peer To Peer Teaching Practice

on Thursday, 21 October 2010

Today was our fourth day of the course, there was supposed to be a typhoon coming. We had to do a peer to peer teaching practice, where we had to teach an English lesson to the rest of the class, most went dreadfully including my own. It wasn’t the greatest start to teaching a lesson and I am not looking forward to doing it in front of 30 kids.

Third Days Teaching

on Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Today we had our third days teaching which including another Grammar lesson, which was quite difficult but we have been told is not very important and our last language class, which was in Hunan. The lesson was not quite as good as the Thai one, but was still a good example of a lesson model for when we teach some classes. Hunan was not as interesting though as it is only spoken by a very small amount of people and you would never  have a use for it. After  we had finished and had some food, we went and tried to find somewhere to buy a USB internet stick. Luckily Renee was with us and can speak Mandarin, so she could ask all the questions. We could only get the sim cards and would have to get the USB sticks from elsewhere, but they would all be closed now, so instead we went to a coffee shop for some Wi-Fi instead.

2nd Days Teaching

on Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Today we had classes again for most of the day, including a Thai lesson which was good and taught us the style of how we would teach an English lesson later in the course. We then went and played some pool in Gongbei for an hour before going back to our apartment. Shortly after we had to be at KFC for the English corner where we chat with people, including students and locals. There were only 3 pupils, 2 from the school and one local and 3 of us. We had to stay an hour but ended up staying an hour and a half. We have to do 2, 2 hour sessions to get free food for the whole month, which is a very good deal, especially as the food is very good and large portions. The students English was actually quite good and a conversation was fairly easy, especially with one called Joe whose English was excellent and said he had taught himself.

First Day In Class

on Monday, 18 October 2010

Today was our first day of classes, I was up at 7:30am and we left at 8:10am to have breakfast in the canteen. We get free food for doing 2 hours of chatting with pupils at the English corner in KFC. After breakfast we got straight into classes, including a grammar lesson and a Mandarin lesson. We did some homework straight after class and also had some dinner. Kindly another pupil on the course Thomas, who has a car took us all to look round the city, we found a bar street and had a few drinks and played some dice before heading back. We get back to the room at about 11pm.

Signing On At School

on Sunday, 17 October 2010

This morning we get up early and go to the school, so I can sign on. We arrive at about 10:30am and I am the first person there, so luckily get the best room in the apartment. The apartment is huge and my room is massive, it has a kitchen, fridge, microwave, cooker, TV and SKY. My room also has an en suite. The only thing it is lacking is Wi-Fi, which is a  bit annoying. I leave my stuff and me and Waiyi go back in to town and play some pool. Afterwards I go to the port and see Waiyi off. I have left my laptop in her bag and luckily just remember before she leaves and she can rush back through customs to give it to me. It is quite hard seeing her go, I hope she can visit as often as possible on the weekends as it is very hard for me to visit Hong Kong as I need another Chinese visa. I then go back to school for orientation, I first meet Tim, my roommate, he is from the US, but has some Chinese in him and can speak Cantonese very well. There is also Maciej(Matt) from Poland who can speak fluent Polish, German, English, Japanese and Korean! There is lydia from Kenya, but who lives in Hong Kong, Katherine frm Zhuhai, Thomas from the US, who is also part Chinese. Renee from the US as well, but Chinese and can speak Mandarin. Jenny is our TEFL trainee. After the orientation we have a welcome dinner, where Jenny orders way too much food and then a tour of the city, to see the main locations, before going back to the apartment for some sleep, before our first day of classes tomorrow.

Visiting The School

on Saturday, 16 October 2010

Today we get up quite late, we go and find the school and have a little tour and also find the place where the apartment is, but we can’t get in as it is gated.We go and do lots of shopping, as I need some smart clothes to teach my lessons in. There are shoes for less than £5 but they are all too small. I get some trousers for £9 and they take them up for me and iron them in the shop! I get a shirt for £2.50 but the sleeves are much too short.  . I also buy a new electric shave which is quite expensive and a towel. We then go to the pool hall where it takes Waiyi two and a half hours to beat me before we can leave. We then go to a seafood restaurant near the Macau border where they have a fish market near the restaurants and you just choose the seafood, buy it, then take it into one of the restaurants and for a small fee they will prepare it for you. We then go back to the apartment. Tomorrow I go to the school to sign on and move into my apartment!

Going To Zhuhai

on Friday, 15 October 2010

Today me and Waiyi leave Hong Kong and go to Zhuhai. We leave at 12:30 and the ferry takes one hour and ten minutes. After checking in, we go into town, we try some go karting, which is good fun. Waiyi has the worst time of the day and her best lap is twice as long as everyone else. We play some pool at a local pool hall and look round the supermarket which is the biggest place I have ever seen, selling everything you could want. Ten times bigger than Tesco. We have ten dumplings for less than 30p, everything is so cheap again after Hong Kong. There are also lots of little bars along the main road, which reminds me of Thailand and something I have never seen in a Chinese city before.

Another Film

on Thursday, 14 October 2010

Today I meet Waiyi for lunch and meet a couple of her films. Alex and On On. We see some snakes in the shopping mall, Waiyi is a wimp. We go back and watch a film, Eat Pray Love and then have some horrible food in Causeway Bay.

Lamma Island And The Peak

on Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Today, in the morning I meet Manzy and Kingyan, two of Waiyi’s friends and we go to Lamma island, a small island near Hong Kong. We spend a few hours there looking around and visiting the beach and also the wind turbine which strangely is actually a tourist attraction in China. We go back and then visit the peak, which is a viewing platform high up on a hill, with amazing views over Hong Kong. You have to pay a small fee and we later find you can get the same view from not far away for free. A great opportunity for some great photos, unfortunately a tripod would have been very useful, I really need to buy one. We also visit Madame Tussauds and get lots of photos taken. We then go back to Causeway bay for dinner, but decide not to go out as we are both so tired.

Food At The Yorkshire Pudding

on Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Today I slept in late again, I met Waiyi for dinner in Soho and we visited the Yorkshire pudding restaurant. The food was quite expensive and wasn’t very great. The actual Yorkshire pudding being very disappointing, after getting so excited about it.

Meal In Soho

on Monday, 11 October 2010

Today I didn’t really do anything, I slept quite late then went and watched a Chinese film by myself called Legend of the fist, return of Chen Zhen. It was actually quite a good film. Waiyi had to go to a funeral that evening so I waited for her and then we went for some food later.

Flugtag

on Sunday, 10 October 2010

Today we go and watch the Red Bull Flugtag, it is very busy and none of the planes work very at all. We then go and watch a film at the cinema before going and collecting my bags from the hotel.

Lan Kwai Fong

on Saturday, 9 October 2010

We go to LKF.

Guangzhou Park

on Friday, 8 October 2010

This morning we wake up and Waiyis aunt and uncle have to work. So they leave the keys and we end up sleeping a bit more, before going out. We go to the local park and have a look at the 5 ram statue, the statue of Guangzhou. We hire an electric boat to go round the lake and then get collected by her uncle again, collecting her aunt and then going to a local restaurant and having some goose in a wok over a barbeque type thing in the middle of the table. We then go back to their flat and have some more beers, with a couple of friends of theirs, I am so tired though and keep falling asleep. I try sleeping in the camping bed instead of the sofa and end up having a dreadful nights sleep, made all the worse as I have been feeling really bad for the last 5 or 6 days! We will leave tomorrow and go back to Hong Kong.

Dim Sum

on Thursday, 7 October 2010

This morning we are up quite early and go to a posh hotel with Waiyis mum, brother, grandparents, an aunt, uncle and cousin. I try some of the dishes and some are ok, but others taste or just look too terrible. After that me and Waiyi have a walk round, this area has a lot of British type buildings and it seems all the wedding couples come to have their photos taken. We must see at least ten couples having photos done. We also come across some people playing a game in the park I have not seen in China before, they have what looks a bit like a shuttlecock and they play keepy uppys with it, but they do it in a way that is more like a dance. There is groups of about 5 or 6 and there is about twenty groups in the park. I buy one of them for 15Yuan, negotiated down by Waiyi from 20Yuan, it still seems quite expensive and low and behold, when we go into a shop they are selling them for 5, scammed again! We then have a look around town and watch inception in the local cinema. The cinema is dreadful though, the seats are so low, peoples heads are in the way and I think only one speaker worked, and it wasn’t the speech one. Obviously they can’t understand anyway and just read the subtitles, but it was very difficult to watch. Waiyi fell asleep for most of the film and I did also for some of it. I will definitely have to watch it again. We then go back to Waiyis grandparents and eat some more food and Waiyi teaches me Mahjong. We then get collected by Waiyis uncle and buy some seafood on the way home, only 100yuan(£10). For two big boxes of crab, 2 of shrimp, some sort of muscles, some fish and some vegetable thing. We get back quite late and eat the food with some beers before sleeping quite late again and having to be up early again.

Leaving For China

on Wednesday, 6 October 2010

This morning we leave Waiyis home and make our way to Guangzhou, it is not too long a journey, just a few hours. I stupidly only got a double entry visa when I should have got a multiple entry visa. I had not realised Guangzhou was such a large city, but I also thought there would be lots of foreigners, in fact I hardly saw any! We have come with Waiyis brother and we are picked up by her uncle and aunt. We stop off at the shopping mall and meet her mum and grandmother, then make our way back to her grandparents house where they are all playing Mahjong. We go out for a birthday dinner, where there is 21 people, almost all of her family, uncles, aunts and cousins. After the meal we head back to her grandparents briefly, where they play more mahjong. Before her uncle leaves to collect his daughter, we are staying with them so leave with him, to collect her from a drama school where she is practicing for a part in the opening ceremony at the Asian games which are being held in Guangzhou. We pick her up and head back to theirs and have some beers. We don’t end up sleeping till 2am!

Laptop Is Back

on Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Today, I am checking out of the hotel and spending one night at Waiyi’s before going to Guangzhou the next day. I get up and pack everything away and put some clothes in to be washed. Then go to meet Waiyi for lunch, I arrive a bit early so spend some time walking around Kowloo park, until she can leave. We have lunch with Chris and another colleague of Waiyis. We have some Chinese food which includes pig ear, jellyfish, ox stomach and taro. Both the taro and the pig ear almost make me through up and the jellyfish is not much better. The ox stomach is actually surprisingly quite nice, but too spicy. After lunch I go and collect my laptop which they have managed to fix that morning. I pick up the laptop and then return to Causeway Bay and use the internet in the hostel, while I wait for Waiyi to finish work and to pick up my laundry and visa.

Bad Steak And Some New Clothes

on Monday, 4 October 2010

Today, I am up late again. I meet Waiyi for lunch and we go to a place called Quarterdeck, with amazing views of the harbour. They have a special deal for lunch, which includes two drinks, a main course and as much of the buffet as you want. We have a steak, which is very tough and not particularly great, but for the price and the restaurant location is ok. Waiyi has an extra long lunch, of two hours as the boss is away. Afterwards I go and buy some new clothes, my tee shirts are getting a bit tatty and sadly not doing 8 hours of walking and eating a lot more and sitting on beaches have meant they don’t fit too well either. I will need to join a gym and go on a diet when I get back in China. The food and clothing are two things that are actually fairly cheap in Hong Kong, so I get some tee shirts for just a few pounds and jeans are only about a tenner. The housing is the real killer when living in Hong Kong. A horrible small flat sets you back at least £250,000 and anything decent is half a million plus! After shopping, I go and meet Waiyi for dinner and some drinks with Chris and another friend called Elvis. We only stay for one drink though as it is Monday night and it is not very busy!

Stanley Beach

on Sunday, 3 October 2010

Today we visit Stanley beach. There are actually several very nice beaches in Hong Kong and Waiyis mum works at this one. We look around all the shops and meet her mum during her lunch break. It is very expensive around here and one drink in a British type pub is nearly £6. We have a hotdog at a local stall, where another one of Waiyis friends work, but the hotdog and cheesy fries are pretty dreadful. We head back and have some dinner, before going to watch a film. We watch a film called detective Dee, which is actually a Cantonese film, starring the most famous Hong Kong actor Andy Lau. The film is actually really good and having to read the subtitles is not that much of a problem. The cinema is near Waiyis home, so she goes home and I head back to my hostel. When I get back the road next to mine has been shut by the police and there is a security van at the side of the road, I assume it has been attacked, but find out in the morning from Waiyi that two of the guards had an argument and one of them fired their shotgun into the air! Crazy!

Chinese BBQ

on Saturday, 2 October 2010

Today we go and watch a film called the Devil, it is a pretty bad film. Afterwards we go to a gathering of Waiyis school friends at a BBQ in the new territories. It is called the skybbq and you pay about $80 and can eat as much as you want. There are hundreds of people in a playground type area and everyone has their own little BBQ and you cook your own food on it. It is a bit different to a BBQ in Britain as there is just so many people. I meet quite a few of Waiyis friends and although it is unbelievably hot, it is fun. We get the bus all the way back and although planned to meet Chris, we are too tired so go home.

National Day

on Friday, 1 October 2010

Today is the Chinese national day. Apparently there is a parade near my hotel, but when it finally comes it is actually a demonstration against the Chinese government claiming they have been stealing peoples organs and people are marching with some pretty disturbing photos. There is also some people dressed up pretending to cut organs out of each other. We go to another area and there is some singing and dancing and some stalls with kids games. The games are all very simple and practically impossible to lose, but there is just old women queuing up time and time again on the same game to win a kids pencil or other stupid little prizes and just filling their bags with the stuff! We then go and watch the firework show at the harbour, it is 23minutes long and apparently cost over $3 million. The harbour front is absolutely packed with people, the show is very impressive and when it comes to leaving it is very difficult and takes a long time to get out of the area. We stop off in Lan Kwai Fong for some drinks, before heading home.