Since Thursday

Okay, I can only remember what happened since Thursday, so here we go. On Thursday, I met up with Sophie again, and we went CD shopping. I was looking for a Jacky Cheung CD with "Wo Deng Dao Huar" and "Wen Bie" on it, but we couldn't find it. I almost bought some pirated Western music, but the quality didn't look good, so I passed. I did buy what I thought was some Chinese techno, but it ended up being a Chinese rock CD. After that, we walked to the Jilin TV Tower, and I paid for both of us. It was 36 kuai (about 7 dollars) and it's a revolving restaurant with a view of the whole of Changchun. Changchun is a large city, probably about the size of Greater Vancouver, with about 3 times the population. It was a really nice view, and I'm glad I went. Thursday night, we went to see a Chinese movie called The Shower, about an urban man who goes home to visit his brother and his father who own a bathhouse in a less urban area. There were no subtitles, but when I couldn't understand the Chinese, I could understand the context, and got the gist of what was happening. It was a visual movie too, so the talking was limited. I like those kind of movies, even when the dialogue is in English.

Friday was a really good day at class, because we had Liu Laoshi repeat the lesson we had on Thursday. On Thursday, we had Bai Laoshi, taking over for Li Laoshi, who is visiting Australia. Bai Laoshi went too fast, so we asked Liu Laoshi to do it over again. I took a lot of notes, and learned a lot of new words, more than the lesson. Then we had Wang Laoshi for listening class, and we started learning a Chinese song. I have to start making a list of famous Chinese songs, so I can learn them and impress my teachers. The song we learned on Friday is still in my head right now as I write this. Later on Friday, we went to a disco with Allan, the Tax College English teacher, and his friend James. We had a pretty fun time. I wasn't the only white guy there, to my surprise.

Saturday we went to this huge park just outside Changchun. It took us about an hour to get there, but the wait was worth it. All the International Students from Jilin University were there, and there was a lake, and on the beach were cows. My roommate, Benny, when he saw the cows, he said "Holy....holy cow!" So we named them the Holy Cows. Then after some pictures, I went and played badminton with Cherie, and finally there wasn't any wind. Then a very pretty girl came and asked if she could play with me. Cherie said okay, and I played with her for a while. Then I had to leave, because a bunch of us went to the SkyRide. The first part was a chairlift up the mountain, and on the way up, I saw nothing but trees. Reminded me a lot of Vancouver Island. Then, to get down, you had two options. The chairlift, or the luge-on-wheels ride. Of course I chose the luge ride. It was so fun, and so worth the 50 kuai (10 dollars). Even just for the ride up. Then some of the girls, Aaron (Bonnie's boyfriend), Mikami and Kanaii (two Japanese fellows studying Chinese in Changchun), Stuss (a Russian), another Japanese fellow and a Chinese went to a Japanese restaurant. It may surprise a lot of people to know that I never had a full Japanese meal before yesterday. But it was fabulous, and all the dishes were cooked in the hotpot. The table was traditional Japanese style, very close to the floor. And of course we had to take our shoes of before we went in. Very good meal.

Today was kind of weird, because it's a Sunday, and we had to go to class. But I very much enjoyed class, because I had the same teachers as on Friday. We did Friday's class today because this Friday we leave for Inner Mongolia, and the trip takes about nine hours. After class I slept, and then bought some snacks. After that, the whole group went to the Jilin Tower, on my recommendation, and had dinner. This time I didn't have to pay, because it was in our food budget. Wow, another hotpot meal, but this time we each had our own little hotpot, and cooked our own meat, vegetables, and seafood. The view was beautiful, even more so than when I went on Thursday, because the sun was setting and Changchun looked calm on a weekend evening.

When I came to the Internet cafe this evening, there weren't any computers, so Benny and I waited outside and talked to the owners. One of the owners used to be a policeman, and I found out that the massage place around the corner is illegal, and anybody caught going there pays a 3000 kuai fine (about 500 dollars). And the policeman had studied kung fu for twenty years, and according to him, he would hit his arms against trees to make them stronger. Well, that's one way of doing it! He gave us a demonstration, and nearly tore Benny's arm off. He's okay now.

This week has been very full, what with classes, field trips, and other excursions. My trip to China has already met my expectations, and then some. Tomorrow I am learning how to cook jiaozi and then we are going to Karaoke. I don't know what happens for the rest of the week, only that our Inner Mongolia trip starts on Friday and ends on Sunday. I am very excited, but at the same time nervous, if only because of the bathroom and sleeping conditions. Some of us have decided to stay in Changchun, but I think I will go, because I don't know when I will be back in China, or how many times I will get to visit such an interesting place as Inner Mongolia. Plus, the sky should be clear of pollution, meaning I will be able to see the stars for the first time in a month and a half. That will be a sight for sore eyes.