I wake up at 05.30 and I have to go through yesterday in my head. Which questions and problems do I still miss to have solved?
I eat what's left from the other day as breakfast. I can make as much tea I like due to the electrical kettle. Today there's also cold water in the shower. It was definitely too hot yesterday, where the cold didn't function. I have to admit that the liability of the supplies here still isn't quite satisfactory. And when it's like this in a hotel it's definitely like that for the inhabitants in general.
The plan for the near future is now ready. I go back to Chengdu tomorrow before the road closes on monday. Then I go by train to Kunming wednesday or thursday.
I've phoned Mix Hostel and made a reservation. And asked for my glasses. Normally I wear contact lenses but I also bring glasses as a backup. They have disappeared. I don't understand how - although - I have a feeling I might have put them on the small shelf at the mirror and missed seeing them when I checked the room. She that cleaned the room that day wasn't there, so I'll have to wait till I come back tomorrow to get the answer.
I pack my things because I've decided to change hotel. Now I've been to this dinner party with the owner of the other hotel, it would be a nice gesture to support his hotel I think, and beside it's cheaper. 120 in stead of 160, and I've seen one of the normal rooms. Looks ok.
I go outside to check the wheather, meaning the temperature, it's not raining, but the wheather changes quickly here in the mountains. Yesterday it started quiet with sunshine, but after lunch the wind was blowing and it got colder. It's cold now so I go upstairs to put on a thin sweater underneath the jacket.
I phone Sherry or as I now know is her name: Che Li, because when are she coming? In 20 min we find out. Her english is still a bit rusty and a telephone doesn't make it better. So I decide to wait here. I know how long 20 min are also here in China, but I also know women.
But 20 min it is. I've just ended packing and have gone down to the reception, then come Sherry and her boyfriend. We walk down the street towards my new hotel and I have my luggage put into a room.
While we're on our way afterwards a uncle shows up in his taxi and takes us to the other side of the river and around some new blocks that shouldn't be that expensive to live in. A little later we drop the boyfriend at some internet cafe and drive down to the center, where we leave the uncle and his taxi to walk around a bit. She asks if I would like to go with her to her grandmother and I do. So we move in through some alleys and end up in the dear old ladys one room apartment. It's all in here on the concrete floor, just like I've seen on TV. And she also looks after two grandchildren whose parents are working far away. They sleep in the bed behind one curtain, she in the other. The toilet must be one in the street. It's like during the cultural revolution I guess. But she's so nice 85 years of age. We sit for a while and have tea and sweets and some bisquits. Maybe she would feel bad with modern comfort?
One of the grandchildren is there, it's saturday and school is closed. I didn't think it was.
|Sherry and her grandmother||The grandmothers home|
We go on and are now in the southern part of the city where yet another uncle
has his shop. Selling floors, locks, doors and that kind of stuff. The woman in
the shop I've seen at the family yesterday sometime. She and Che Li acts as
girlfriends. Che Li is 24 years old, that would have been my guess too. Her
english has improved a lot since I first saw her yesterday! But still...
In the meantime I've phoned Xia Wei. I don't know if his wife maybe comes back during the weekend, so I ask cautious about it, but it won't be until monday. As I know he has to take care of his daughter I ask still cautious if I may come to his place. I can, and we agree on meeting at the school gate at 15.30
So when we leave the shop Che Li takes me to the walking bridge across the river where we part. Before that I've handed her a danish 5 crown, I want her to give to her father. That was what I was missing last time in Xinzhou where I only could find a swedish 20 crown bill for Jiayuan's father. Of which he was very happy. This time I've brought 8 five'rs.
Xia Wei is waiting at the gate, but as I've noticed already it's not all that are allowed to enter a school. And I've got nothing to do there, that's obvious. But Xia Wei say what's needed, and we're let through. He's probably said: he's my personal friend, I'm responsible and we're going to my place?
The staircase is depressing concrete with steel doors, but the inside has nice tiles on the floors and is quite common. The daughter has her own room and play the piano - a digital one - just now it's Czerny's etudes, it's hard to find his name between all the chinese characters.
He thinks I should teach the daughter, whos name is Wei Jie, some english, and I improvise some teaching with the help from her textbook.
I tell him my view on the chinese english teaching and he agrees: they might be able to read and write some english, but speak they can't. Not at all.
We talk for a long time. I try to remember all I want to ask about and think I remember most. I give him the rest of the photos I've brought about life at the school after the earthquake. I tell him that I don't know if they want something to remember that time or they maybe prefer just to forget it all, but now I hand them to him.
I see a laptop computer and he gets some more pictures from a CD I've brought. We talk about e-mails and internet - the net is not working just now nut sometimes it does.
I also ask him about my bike and the rest of my stuff, but he doesn't seem to know anything about it. He doesn't remember the circumstances when I "disappeared" back to Chengdu, he wasn't there at that time and I never said goodbye.
He suggests we go out to eat and so we do. We have 3-4 dishes a little like those yesterday. At least one is new, it's meat with coarse chattered rice to some kind of dhal. It's my favourite. I have a beer, but he's driving and there seems to be a zero alkohol limit here and you'll be fined and will go to jail also if you break the law. As the meal drags out the daughter is allowed to go to the bookstore to look at books. I'm not allowed to pay anything, I would have liked to. The bill is around 100 RMB.
Afterwards they take me to my hotel. I didn't inspect the room that much but it seemed a little worn out, now it appears there are problems with the light and that the heat is not functioning. After Xia Wei and his daughter have left I have two girls from the reception trying to solve the problems. They're not very successfull, but in the end the heat functions in the third room, so I move in there.
After yet some time there is a knock on the door. I thought the girls were happy to go back to their chinese soap-TV and can't believe my eyes when Xia Wei is outside with - MY BICYCLE. It's really my bicycle! The saddle is levelled the chinese way (too low) and it looks like shit, but it's there.
How on earth did he find it? "Hmm, I made some phonecalls... and then..."
|In the english teachers home||The english teacher WITH my bike|
Like I was thinking: this bike is too special to go around Maoxian
without people noticing. So if it was still in town...
And this way the first act of my revisiting Maoxian ends. I really got my moneys worth.