As I spend my final days in China I am simultaneously anxious and relieved. We have our last finals and then a farewell banquet and then its off to America. It’s hard to say what I will miss most after coming back this time, since my experience was quite difference than my last semester here.
Anyway to change subjects, I went to see Ironman a few weeks ago and found some interesting adjustments. At the beginning of the movie Ironman talks to a man at the party and it appears the Chinese have superimposed a Chinese dude in, and very convincingly so….Ironman talk in English and the man responds in Chinese, and some how Ironman understands him and is not at all confused as to why he is speaking Chinese. Then towards the end there is a fifteen-minute dialogue added in between two Chinese surgeons that I completely did not understand and was also completely unnecessary. Apparently, in order for these big blockbuster movies to enter China they have to be willing to allow these adjustments or something. This included some disgustingly blatant product placement oh and also, one of the “surgeons” was a famous Chinese actress so they could then say she was in the movie…clever China.
Other things that happened:
A friend of mine and I went to eat Thai food and I ended up getting a free dish. We had said no meat in our Pad Thai, but during the last few bites we discovered two shrimps at the bottom. I stared downed the waiters until they gave me a free mango rice desert yummm.
Another friend and I went to climb Huangshan, a famous mountain in nearby Anhui province, during our reading week. We took a bus from Hangzhou to what we thought was going to be the bus stop at the base of the mountain. Instead, the driver decided to stop at the hotel where most people were staying, leaving us stranded there as well. Since we only had directions to our hostel from the stop we decided to stay at that hotel. The next day we rushed off to climb that mountain. Our plan was to climb with our tent, drop it off, then go continue climbing. The only issue we thought we would have was that buses the next day only left at 7:30 am and earlier and after that at 3:30 or so, and we needed to get back by the afternoon because our program was treating us to Middle Eastern food the next day at 5. That was an issue, but I’ll get back to that later. Reaching the point where we could drop off the tent was rough. The stairs were super steep and there were SO MANY STAIRS. Huangshan is not just one straight climb, its many climbs to various peaks and viewpoints and then climbing back down to climb another. It was quite exhausting. We finally found the tent people, only to discover they were forcing us to pitch on this awkward concrete circle surrounded by a store, a restaurant and a bathroom, as well as many lingering travelers. We tried to sneak off to a nearby patch of grass only to be reprimanded. During the night I awoke from my concrete bed to the realization the tent had become wet from all the mist. We ended up playing several games of the card game “war” instead of sleeping, while waiting for the sunrise. The next day we waited until five thirty at the famous spot where the sun rises, but found it was too misty out to see. We then booked it down the mountain, both of us about to collapse, but knowing that we needed “free” falafel. We reached that bus at almost exactly 7:30, but did not have enough money to get on and they would not take credit cards. In a move that definitely would not happen in the states, one of the bus people made everyone wait by running with us, well we were more hobbling, to a nearby bank. Our debit cards were rejected there and the bus person then convinced the driver to stop along the way for us to take money out. After stopping, our cards we rejected by several more banks and overall I would say we made everyone wait about 20 minutes or more…woops. Well we made it back for falafel after about 6 hours of climbing, sleeping about 3-4 hours, and racing down a mountain. Oh, and Huangshan was really really pretty.
On another note, our rooms all have cockroach infestations and its funny how everyone has different ways of dealing with them. I usually don’t mind them too much, just try to leave them alone and not make contact with them, others were quick to buy the deet, and one of the students, interestingly, started raising one in cup. However, recently things have taken a turn for the worse. I used to only see them in my bathroom, but one night I was having trouble sleeping and suddenly realized I was hearing a very soft noise coming from behind me. It sounded like something scratching against my bed’s headboard. I sat up a turned around staring at the headboard in the dark. There was a pattern in it with various degrees of darkness but one spot looked darker than the rest. I turned on my phone light and sure enough a huge cockroach darted down into my bed. I ended up moving to our lounge and sleeping on the weird plastic chair-coach thing there until someone came in to sweep at around five. I told them there were cockroaches in my room, but they were steel weirded out that I was sleeping there I think. Also, it seems the cockroaches are evolving into a more fearsome creature. One of the student’s said he had a huge cockroach and when he tried to catch it and put it outside it flew around and another student had to spray it with Deet.
That’s kind of a weird note to end this blog on, but I don’t really have anything else to say right now and need to prepare for a final tomorrow soooo…that's all! I may write some kind of concluding thoughts at some point, but am heading back to America in a few days, so that's about all for my experiences this semester!