The journey truely begins!!
03.03.2011 - 06.03.2011 23 °C
Hey hey guys and gals!!
So, currently in Eshan, Yuxi, Yunnan, China and oober excited!! (and coming off the perculia high teaching gives you, weird but a later matter).
I'm not sure about Nat, but when they said small rural town I was expecting something a lot like Yarra Glen, in the sense that it is one main street and little else, but oh em gee.....!!! This joint is MASSIVE! The school alone rivals the size of Yarra Grammer with over 2,000 students, that's without the teaching staff, grounds staff, family members of teachers and anyone else I may have forgotten!
The first day we were here our link teacher, Lucy (who is our Chinese mother and sooooo nice) asked us to cover her lessons for the day. (but I think I may have already mentioned this so appologies if I have, I did not read through my previous post before typing this :P) Woken up by "MEI XIAN!! GET UP" and a rapping on the window pane at some ungodly hour (something like 8am, after going to bed at an equally ungodly hour due to a banquet where it is possible to say that there were a few too many toasts resulting in slight intoxication on all's behalf except the drivers, thank god!)
We spent the weekend celebrating "international women's day" (but I get the feeling its a Chinese thing as neither of us had heared of it before). Bundled into the awaiting car at 8am (yet again) we drove 4.5hrs through absolutely exquisite scenery. Soaring mountains and sheer rock face. Red dirt and belive it or not; gum trees (looked just like home but in China, weird or what??) Arriving at Mi-le we checked into the hotel and were extatic to discover that the beds were soft and wait for it....... it was a massive shower head with ELECTRIC hot water, not this tempremental solar stuff that freezes your ass off at 6am with actual chuncks of icy slush (go the kettle and water tubs!!) Lunch followed (organs anybody?? yum.... *gag*) then off to the "Yunnan Red Chatteau" a vineyard in the middle of Yunnan that can be described as little more than the Palace of Kitsch (so aptly named, see pics if you do not believe me), and the red wine, ah the wine. Ever picked up a bottle of red wine vinegar that you stupidly left next to the similar in appearance bottle of red wine?? gross!!! oops. o.O
The tour of the vineyard was followed up by dinner then a trip to.. wait for it..... HOT SPRINGS!! Spa night anybody?? Soooooo nice!! So was required to get into the water (duh) but there was a sever lacking of bathers on my behalf so had to buy some and they are actually much nicer than my pair at home, take that $90 bathers! $17 kicks ass!! lol. The change rooms.... well ima skip that bit, I don't want to recall the memories I would rather supress than remember..... saw way too much of my fellow femal staff.... majorly cringe worthy!! But the springs were AMAZING!! 32 degrees in the outer pool and about 38-42 degrees in the inner one. (took a little while to get used to but mmmmmm..... hot springs.....) Feeling renewed and pruney, seriously I've never seen my hands and feet so wrinkled!!!! We chuffed off back to our hotel and our soft, comfy, warm beds (you wouldn't know how blissful they are until you have spent a week sleeping in a Chinese bed, plank of wood anyone?)
Following morning, waiting in the lobby of the hotel some of the teachers (finally) came up to us and started talking and what not (it had just been Natalie, Lucy and I beforehand) so it was absolutely fantastic! Bananas anyone? (yummmm) well bundled into the car (yet again) and shipped off to the mountains, dozing off as we wound our way through only to awaken to the sight of our destination; Da Fo (Big Buddha) a large statue and sprawling temple dedicated to the Buddhist faith, a whole mountain (I'm being serious FYI) the WHOLE mountain (in case you didn’t get it the first time) :P
May I say that it was at this stage we realised "omg tai pang le!!" (omg too fat/ unfit!!) but any whoooo.... it was fun. Finally reaching the top we found one temple with one large golden statue of Buddha and the four traditional Chinese Gods. Upon reaching the main temple we met a monk to whom we spoke with the aid of our fellow English teachers. After explaining to him that we were volunteers he said a little prayer for us after which turning to our fellow teacher and saying “I admire her for her bravery, coming to a faraway country with no one and looking so different.” Quite chuffed at that, (and the funny thing is he is not the only one that has said that, I’ve had people in the street say similar things when I have been talking to them, in mando of course!) Carrying on to the main monument, Da Fo, the smell of incense grew heavier and the sound of firecrackers rang out garishly through the mountains, the sight of Da Fo emerged from beyond the stairs evoking little more than a feeling of insignificance in the presence of His sheer size and majesty.
I will continue this tale at a later date.
Must dash :P