A fellow teacher met Chris and I at the ferry in Shekou to take us to my new apartment. The apartment is in a quiet neighborhood with lots of trees and very close to the local Walmart. There are 30-something buildings in this complex that surround a park. Inside the gates (we’re a gated community) is a gym, laundromat (someone actually said it’s one of the best in Shekou), convenience store, and restaurant.
After Ron got us, plus all the luggage, to the apartment, he decided to show us where Walmart* was in relation to my new “home”. Walmart is about a block away in a little plaza. Also in this plaza is a KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Haagan-Daaz, and a smaller mall. After touring the entire Walmart, he took us over to the mall. We walked it** and came across stores like Adidas and Crocs. I believe the mall is 4 stories tall. Also in the mall is small home appliance store and sporting goods store.
After walking through the mall, he walked us to a bus stop. We hopped on the bus*** and rode it to the Main Campus where I’ll be teaching. We walked to the second floor and I met my new Director. She seems super nice. She even showed me where my classroom will be. Get this: last year in my co-teach room, we had 44 students…this year I only have 13 on my roster so far. Ron also showed us the library which looks pretty cool.
Next, we looked at the two food stores beside the campus and then headed to a place called Sea World (no, not the one with Shamu). Sea World has tons of restaurants and a giant ship. We’re told that they have a light show nightly. After spotting a Mexican restaurant, Chris kept talking about wanting Mexican. Seriously, who eats Mexican the first day you’re in China? Who? My brother. Ron asked us if we wanted something to eat…I said yes and that I wanted some Chinese. I’ll be darn if I’m going to eat Mexican when I love Asian food and I’m in China…maybe I’ll cave and go there while he’s here.
Anyway, the food at the Chinese place was good. I ordered some dumplings (they were okay) with noodles in a broth. The broth was very flavorful. I was given chopsticks to eat the noodles and dumplings with. Well, I need to work on my chopstick usage clearly, but I do think I managed quite well with what I was given.
Finally, we hopped back onto the bus and rode back to the stop we’d gotten on earlier. Ron escorted us back home where we thanked him profusely for all of his help. He really was an amazing guide. After we said our goodbyes, I was in desperate need for a shower. I sweated so much walking about! After a 20 minute frantic search for my shampoo, I jumped into the lukewarm shower (it was lukewarm by choice). Though the school left us some bread and peanut butter, Chris and I ventured to Walmart on our own and bought some water, Coke, cookies, and Chinese Frosted Flakes.
Overall, it was a fairly decent day. Sure, it was tiring, but the fact that we were given a tour of the city and shown the ropes (okay, I am not an expert by any means, but you get my meaning) was simply wonderful and a gift. This is going to be an adventure for sure!
*Walmart: Walmart is two stories here and quite the experience. No matter the time of day you visit, there is a crush of people in it. After 3pm, it does tend to get much worse and it seems like a free for all. It is best to not use a buggy—they only hinder the maneuvering process throughout the hoards of people.
**Mall: The Garden City Mall is awesome. It is 4 stories and filled with tons of restaurants. One of my favorite stores is a place that makes jerky (as in beef jerky) out of bacon. Talk about delicious.
***Bus: There are a few buses that will take me to work. But, you must hold on! It is almost like the bus driver closes the door and floors it the moment you jump onto the bus…before you even have a chance to hold on!