Sunday, May 20, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
Friday, May 11, 2018
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Saturday, May 5, 2018
The plan for the day was to first go downtown, wander about and look at some places before going to the drumming class. For lunch we were going to go to a pub called the Red Lion. From the Red Lion we were to go to Tony's drumming class.
Because I was to drink beer at the pub, I decided it was best if Tony & I took the bus and then the subway downtown. But walking to the bus stop, we discovered it was very humid. This was to be the first of many annoyances we would experience that day.
On the train downtown, some fool played his music loudly using his smartphone. I stared at him and I saw eyes raised among the other passengers, but none of us did anything.
The third annoyance was to see that the Red Lion was closed. I had assumed it would be open on the afternoon of a holiday. My being wrong could have been enough for me to have a swearing fit because we had walked a bit of a ways in the suffocating humidity to get to pub and I didn't have a plan B. I had been so much looking forward to having a beer and sharing a pizza with Tony. I didn't swear however because I had to stop Tony from whining. We instead, after some indecision, went to this Italian set-up (but no longer run by, it seemed) restaurant named Ciao Italiano. I wouldn't have minded it so much if its tables were not so small and its beer was served cold on tap in a cold mug. Beer was instead served in bottles.
Finishing our meal at the restaurant we had time to burn before Tony's drum class started. The restaurant we were at was on Wuxi Nanchang Jie bar street, so we walked the street. I couldn't get over the fact that all the nice little shops and businesses were in the midst of construction and and that there was trash everywhere.
Owing to the humidity we took a taxi to the Tony's drum class. Arriving, we still had time to burn so I got to have the experience of buying and then consuming a can of beer in a Family Mart convenience store. After the drum class I was to experience annoyances of the day number four and five. Both of these were the results of cars that swerved around pedestrians instead of yielding to them. I got revenge on them both by pounding my fist on their trunks.
Then there was annoyance number six. The car-pounding I did happened on the way to the subway which we were to take home so we could get to Tony's swimming class. The train turned out to be crowded and so we were not able to easily get a seat as we had become accustomed. (Which was almost an annoyance till we got to the next stop and seats became available.) Now, most of the time the locals on the train pay me no never-mind or no heed, and that's just the way I like it. But it was a holiday and so there were types on the train that I normally wouldn't encounter, like these two brats, one female and one male, who sat besides us and gave off a bad vibe. The boy stared directly at my iPhone screen and said something to his companion involving the word Laowai, making me very uncomfortable and perturbed. This staring made me put my phone down and instead try to concentrate on what Tony was doing on my IPad. But the bad vibes from the annoying pair sitting beside me wouldn't go away. The boy then decided to stand up and and to swing from the center pole of the train car used by standing passengers to keep their balance. Glancing at the boy, it seemed to me that he had the face and the ears of a chimpanzee. I then told Tony to never act like that boy because his behavior was that of a monkey. His girl companion heard this and understood. It would have been the end of it but as luck would have it, they had to get off the train at the same stop that we were getting off and they would even be waiting at the same bus stop to which we went. I suspected, and Tony confirmed, that they were still talking about us. So Tony and I gave them some choice English curses.
I am not proud of myself for this incident. I really should've just ignored them. And you would think that after 14 years of being with these people that I would've gotten used to it and stop letting them get under my skin! Be that as it may, the locals are a rude bunch. I don't think it's just a case of the sheer numbers of them producing enough bad apples to lead me to falsely conclude they have great tendencies to boorishness. I have been in crowds of North Americans and have never experienced the revulsion at the manners displayed as I have in Wuxi. I did like how Tony told them off, however. It is good to know that the flesh of my flesh can be an ally.
After that the day went swimmingly. While Tony was swimming, I got my exercise by walking in the area around the pool. The area is getting built up and I like to walk about to see what has been done. The amount of building does seem quite impressive. There are so many tall buildings and bridges and parks in the area that I have no end of things to look out. However, by walking I see that China is simply not something you want to look at too closely. Up close, you see the buildings and infrastructure are mostly empty, under-utilised and already suffering from neglect. This 400 meter overpass I walked on had great views and was nicely set up for pedestrians. But I was the only pedestrian on the overpass, the overpass tiles were cracked and strewn about, and the area under the overpass was virtually a garbage dump. Whoever designed the overpass didn't take into account how it would fit in with its surroundings. The locals had decided that the area under the overpass was a good place to abandon rubbish.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Going through the entrance gate at the Nanjing Train Station to board her train back to Wuxi, she still wore her mask; having forgotten, as she told me, to remove it. A camera at the gate equipped with facial recognition software then wouldn't let her enter.
With the demand among Chinese adults for English training drying up, my school is doing more and more kiddie classes. I do some these of classes on Saturday, and now on Tuesdays, I am now doing classes at a kindergarten near our school location.
Kindergartens in Wuxi are located inside or very near to apartment communites. The one I am going to is in a community off Xueqian Road. Dongling Kindergarten is in a three storey complex built around a playground slash courtyard. Its entrance is gated and a security guard had to let me and my handlers inside. The hallways of the kindergarten are filled with toys. There was a room full of kiddie-sized beds for the students to take a mass afternoon nap. Besides teaching staff, there is custodial and kitchen staff. The kids spend the day at the place.
I teach two classes in what is either a music or activity room. The students, in groups of forty, are brought from their homeroom classes. The classes are twenty minutes long. For a warm-up, I get the kids to stand up, touch body parts and do whatever silly movements I can think of like getting them to spin their arms quickly or slowly. I try to clown it up to get them to laugh. I then teach or, maybe better to say, test their knowledge of the lesson vocabulary which is presented via flash cards. I continue to try to do activities that I think will amuse them based on the words with which I have to work. If the words are say "push" and "pull," I will get the student to come up, one at a time, and try to push and pull me. I add a twist by flying across the classroom when the girls push me but not moving an inch when the boys try.
With the classes being twenty minutes long, and the activities being very physical, time flies. When the class ends, I will sometimes get mobbed by the kids. Some of them just want to high five me and some of them just want to be naughty and hit or spank the teacher. Each of the classes I teach do have their own personality. A well-behaved class is a joy to teach. An unruly class will have me, depending on the mood I am in, wanting to kick or mentally punish them.