Coming up to two weeks in the greenest city in China now, and “teaching” starts tomorrow. I’m not nervous really, no point in it when these promise to be some of the least stressful jobs I’ve ever had.
Living here is fantastically easy. The flat is basic even by Czech standards, but I’ve never been fussy about that. The water is undrinkable, the bed rock hard, the sofa made of unpadded wood. None of these problems bother me too much. On the upside living costs are ridiculously low. If I feel like cooking I can make a meal for pennies, if I can’t be bothered I can get a takeaway from downstairs for about the same. Even electronic equipment and non-bootleg DVDs are cheap – this is where they all come from.
In Prague I could blend in. Here this is impossible. If you see a white face on the street you’ll both stop and talk to each-other. Half the foreigners in the city seem to be my colleagues. At night we happen upon each-other outside and hang out on walls in front of buildings with security guards or at the open air bar outside a supermarket. It’s almost t-shirt weather at night and I keep feeling like I’m at Glastonbury.
As for the city itself, everything seems to be new but dirty. There’s a smog that hangs over the place all day but at the same time huge green parks everywhere. From the balcony in the flat, through the prison bars, you can see out into the Pearl River Delta, watch oily fishing boats making their way out to the South China Sea.
Don’t know if I want to eat anything caught here though. We’ve been out to a fair few introductory meals, each one a proper banquet. The potato cakes and spicy pork are the best I’ve tasted so far. You have to be careful though – not only are they even keener on offal than the Slavs, they’re also even more likely to give it a bizarre and inaccurate name. “Phoenix claws” are battered chicken feet. You don’t want to know what “dragon fights tiger” is.
I’m still worried about my health, but have been told by everyone that I shouldn’t worry about it too much. Easier said than done. My money is running low too, but I can survive on almost nothing so that isn’t a problem. Altogether things seem to be going ok.
- 2011 tracks
- 2014 tracks
- 2015 tracks
- Beijing restaurants
- britpop nuggets
- china life
- china questions
- china travel
- chinese food
- chinese language
- chinese literature
- czech republic
- forgotten 90s bands
- hong kong
- les rougon-macquart
- meat in popular music
- mind your language
- the cabin fever
- things in china
- uk life
- weird food
- Wet Markets 21/04/2020
- What are the Seven Wolves? 11/04/2020
- In a Pickle 21/03/2020
- Centuries of Sound 23/10/2017
- I probably have to write something about the bizarre Princess Diana statue garden in Nansha 31/01/2017
- 75 Tracks From 2015 16/01/2016
- The Floor 10/12/2015
- Chinese Condom Brands 08/11/2015
- Britpop Nuggets Part Three: Long Live The UK Music Scene 22/10/2015
- Britpop Nuggets Part Two or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Tolerate Northern Uproar 28/09/2015
Delia on Forgotten 90s bands – Ph… Laurel C on … Jaka on Equally Divided Europe haonowshaokao on Britpop Nuggets Part One: Some… vicdiesel on Britpop Nuggets Part One: Some…
Last.fm weekly chart