Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wo xi huan Hainan

1
And so my little stint in the Motherland continues!

We started the Mandarin classes today. I had a little of an advantage when it came to the initial pronounciation sections, as I obviously have more of a wealth of experience to draw upon, what with the exposure to words and so forth. But as we're now on the process of learning the phrases, any advantage I had has now swiftly disappeared. I still feel the obligation to be at the top end though, it'd be a shame if I wasn't... it's meant to be my mother tongue and all that.

The days here as the same time, oxymoronically (or just moronically? It's late and I've had little sleep!) seem to go really quickly and really slowly. The days seem to extend quite a lot and so as a result we get a lot packed into the days, although a little less so now, as we start to fall into the lesson schedule. Thus far, we've visited, as said, Holiday Beach, Evergreen Park (again reminding me uncannily of Singapore), the tomb of Hairu (apparently one of the early chieftains of Hainan), a few shopping malls here and there, and a couple of small things here and there.

And gone out a fair bit also ;) It's not completely our faults the beer is so cheap, nor that locals insist on buying rounds of drinks and ridiculously priced chips in the clubs for us! Upon requesting that they allow us to get a round in, we get rebuffed and besides which we have been told it would be considered bad manners and poor form to reject them. They're not all ideal though... last night, we returned to 'Allen's Bar' after a terrible terrible mockery of a KTV (karaoke) attempt in the place actually just across the road from us. W.V. we suspect, may have gotten his drink spiked, and as a result was... 'ill' throughout for a long time, to the extent that I felt compelled to stay up with him for until I was sure he was OK, but it wasn't too bad as I did have company for it for the great majority. But that's not the kind of thing Palin would write about is it? :P

What he might have written about is how far the pound stretches out here (the local cornershop sells a crate of 12 700ml beers for a slip over 3 quid), how the locals are for the most part friendly, more than keen, though shy, to talk to us as they would love to be able to tell their peers they spoke to a foreigner. Obviously with me this is a tad less of an issue, though I'm pretty sure I nevertheless bemuse them with my level of English.

I'm not overly certain what to write anymore, which is something of a strange occurence. Due to laziness, sleep deprivation (10 and a half hours in the past few days!) and not a small degree of lack of commitment, I'm obviously adverse to type up the entirety of my day's content, but the more I can write now the better for later, I suppose. And of the experiences I have undergone on a day to day basis, what becomes newsworthy on a daily scale?

However, I AM excited by the:
- prospect of teaching, strangely. I may end up with the opportunity to share a class and take a few adults for a conversational class tomorrow.
- the travelling in February. Myself and WS and CH have decided to travel to Guilin and the surrounding area by train for the few weeks we get off during the Chinese New Year (though they refer to is as the "Spring Festival" here) break. It should be more useful and give rise to more useful stories at a later date, what with the prospect of the awe-inspiring scenery, the Chinese New Year celebrations, and a lack of purpose-filled itineraries. We shall see.

1 Response to Wo xi huan Hainan

Raz
9 January 2008 at 22:56

This all sounds so exciting! I have always wanted to travel properly, with friends or on my own, and really immerse myself in the culture.

Good luck with Mandarin! And I hope you have lots more evenings of cheap beer (sans spiking) ahead of you.