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Going East Travling, Living, and Working in China

I'm here!

CHINA | Wednesday, 22 July 2009 | Views [377]

The flight to China was absurd. It was about 20-22 hours of flying and layovers. Approximately 1.5-2 hours from Detroit to Toronto, 13.5-15 hrs to Beijing, and approximately 1.5 to Luoyang. There was about a 2 hour layover at every airport, so I did nearly a day of flying. I spent a little time in Toronto testing skype and getting screwed out of getting my currency converted. Luckily I didn't convert much, because it was supposed to be converted at the constant GOVERNMENT SET rate of 1 to 6.8, but was converted at 1 - 5.3, which is completely incorrect. The agent assured me that it changed, but it hasn't changed in many months. Never get currency changed at ICE [International Currency Exchange]. When I landed in Beijing, it was about like I expected. Skies were gray, air quality was poor, people were everywhere, and it was hot and humid. The air quality wasn't as bad as I had heard people make it out to be, but it wasn't great. I've heard some people go as far as to say their lungs "burned" or some ridiculousness when they got off the plane. It wasn't like that at all. It was more like, "Hmm.. that smells kinda odd." And there was a constant haze [much more noticeable at night with street lights] that just hung over everything like fog. Landing at Luoyang wasn't much different, except there were far fewer people, mainly just the 100 or so that got off the plane and some those waiting for them at the airport. Mike, the person who'd organized my trip, and Martin, someone who apparently does hiring for the Chinese instructors, met me at the airport and carried my bags to a van. They were both really friendly. Mike decided to go out and buy me groceries [various fruits, instant coffee, a bag of dumplings, milk and eggs] and some bathroom products like toothpaste, toothbrush, and some soaps. That was fantastic and I thanked him heartily for it. I totally didn't expect my employer to be buying me stuff like that and made me feel really welcome. The drive back was pretty intense. Driving here is insane. Speed limits, parking signs, and pretty much anything that you could think of that would be taken seriously here to have your car ticketed and towed away are more of... well... suggestions here. There are also tons and tons of hazards. People on mopeds, bicycles, pedestrians, crazy buses and taxis that never change lanes when there's space on the road are everywhere. In terms of the city, it looks decent. A lot of people picture the Chinese cities looking rather run down and filled with factories, but this one looks rather updated and there wasn't a factory in sight. The people also looked happy. At night everyone just sits outside. I thought this was kind've peculiar at first, being that it was 9:30 at night and hundreds of people were just laying outside in the median on the grass reading newspapers in the dark or on the sides of the road on the grass near the sidewalk, but Martin explained to me that in the rooms during night its still really hot from the day and it takes awhile for it to cool off. So people just go outside to lay down and its cooler in the grass. Yeah, I guess that makes sense. 

When we got back to my apartment we surveyed everything to make sure that things were working in good order.  Many things weren't.  The DVD player, refrigerator, a couple wall sockets, and telephone weren't working.  The shower was also leaking a ton out of one of the intake pipes. However, that has all been fixed now [with the exception of the fridge & DVD player].  My apartment is bigger than I ever could have imagined.  Its probably 1.5x my last apartment and I'm living alone.  I've posted pictures so that you can take a look. After unpacking and chatting with the guys, I turned in. 

Tags: arrival


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