Thursday, 7 July 2005

My bed

sm-my_bed.jpgIt's quite surprising just how quickly you can start to feel lonely... I've not been here more than a couple of hours, but I've already spent most of it on my own. YuLu and another man (who I assume was her boyfriend, but didn't want to ask) took me out to a barbeque restaurant for dinner. To be honest, I wasn't really keen on the food, but it is certainly better than a lot of other Chinese food I've had, and I was able to eat a little -- enough to keep me from feeling too hungry. Fortunately I've also been given a pack of biscuits and a whole watermelon... after the three meals tomorrow I shall start to consider how long to ration it for!

So I'm sat inside my little tent. It's actually very comfortable, especially once I bring in my laptop, camera, and the air conditioning remote. But it's still lonely; not really because I feel lonely now (why would I? I have spent almost every night on my own during this holiday) but because I know that for the next two weeks I will be mostly on my own. I should ring Gogo as soon as I get chance tomorrow -- I think meeting up with somebody that I know will help me feel much better.

So today, or rather, yesterday, was a fairly big day. The start of the G8+5 summit, more protesting, the supposed execution of a high-ranking Egyptian official in Iraq... and the numerous bombs that were detonated across London. It goes without saying just how disturbing this is. I don't really know myself quite what has gone on, in spite of reading a news article and catching a very brief review on CCTV9. It is at times like these that I really begin to wonder just what sort of harm the Chinese firewall can have -- the Chinese news channels were all silent (or at least, the bits that I saw, which means that it wasn't considered a particularly big story (although the impending electricity shortage in China is, and has been every day I've been here)) up until about an hour ago. In fact, were it not for a rather out-of-place article on my favourite technology website, Slashdot, I most likely would not have known! BBC News is out-of-bounds in China, as are CNN, ABCNews, and many other foreign news providers. Much to my surprise, not even the English-language section of the main CCTV News website carried the story!

Right now I'm not entirely sure how many people have lost their lives -- is it three or four? or thirty or forty?

I'll have to talk about this a little more when I fully understand what has happened and what the implications are. Most people I talk to seem quite against the invasion of Iraq. My personal stance is basically that it needed to be done -- in the short term there is a lot of disruption, loss of life and the potential for more "terror attacks", but in the long run many more people will be better off without Saddam Hussain -- especially those that might have been the target of his "law" enforcement agencies. Where I think it all begins to get hazy is the reason... or lack of. It does all seem rather cyclic though -- the attack on the Twin Towers, the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, numerous car bombs, suicide bombers and now recently the attack in London (assuming the claims of links to al-Qaeda are correct)... the question now is how will Britain react? From what I did see I was rather worried by Bush's statement; it seemed to concentrate far too heavily on what would be done and not sympathy... even a day without the Next Big Plan(TM) would have been nice.

But back to what I'm up to (I really shouldn't get into politics as I'm way out of my depth)... I'm sat in bed writing stuff. I just enjoyed flicking away a mosquito that landed on my tent -- if only they made decent portable versions!

Tomorrow I should be up around 9am in time to take a tour of the campus (it was too late/dark when I arrived), meet the headmaster and, I think, move location. As the school is officially on holiday, it is pretty much just the security guards and chef on campus... at least until the Summer Camp starts next Monday. YuLu has arranged for me to stay with a Chinese family tomorrow and Saturday evening, before I return on Sunday night for school the following day. I'm not quite sure what to expect but so far all of the people I have met have been exceptionally friendly and helpful.

Over the next couple of days I have to come up with some ideas of how to teach the kids (9-12) English. YuLu suggested I try some catchy things (she suggested teaching English songs but that sounds like it involves me singing!) but so far I haven't come up with much more than simple games -- hangman, for example -- and a common Chinese tactic that involves asking the students to make up a song or story based on a single word. It is starting to all sound very complicated! Any suggestions are *very* welcome!

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