The former captain has just arrived in Hangzhou, where he will teach English at the Zhejiang Vocational College of Commerce. Here are his 1st impressions:
Four meals, 2 plane rides and 0 conversations later I made it to Hangzhou alongside my fellow travelers, primarily Korean.
The Asiana Airlines flight was comfortable and typical, with the exception of 2 video tutorials presented mid-flight. One immediately followed the standard emergency instructions (life vest, exits, etc.) and basically told everyone to behave, depicting a scene of a parent allowing their overzealous child to parade around the aircraft. The other was of young students giggling and taking pictures of nude sculptures at a museum. The moral of the story was to “behave accordingly,” after Asiana’s motto, “Behavior accordingly, travel beautifully.” If traveling beautifully means having as on-board entertainment recently released films and albums, then I can’t disagree with the beautiful service.
The other interesting video was of in-flight exercise video. In itself an in-flight exercise video is not strange, but when you watch an entire plane full of people pulling their head left you almost wish you had a camera at the ready.
After arriving in the airport Jennifer, the secretary of the foreign affairs department at the College, picked me up. We rode directly to the school in a taxi van. During the 40-minute ride the cab driver cut off the same driver at least 4 times, used his horn liberally, and before pulling away put the window down to yell out something that although semantically unintelligible clearly was not along the lines of “Have a nice day.”
For my first week here accommodations will be at a hotel located on the campus of the college. How’s that for convenient! On top of this they’ve put me on the top (8th) floor, with a great view of the city.
The hotel is run by the hotel management department of the college, and hosts teachers as well as normal guests. There is free Wi-Fi access (i.e. someone in the neighborhood has not locked their service), so except for YouTube, Facebook, Blogspot and some other sites, all the luxuries of the worldwide web are available.
During this week I’ll be apartment hunting and enjoy the week off for holidays. Happy National Day! October 1 marks the first day of a week of vacation, and the 60th anniversary of the CCP reign. Six decades ago Chiang Kai-Shek and his nationalists were removed from power, replaced by the CCP and Chairman Mao Zedong. Sixty years later, this country has been transformed and retransformed to its current state. To celebrate the day everyone turned to the television and witnessed the parade in Beijing.
Actually, despite the amazing military and choreographed dance spectacle on TV, waves of people spent the day off by flocking to the biggest tourist attraction in town, the West Lake, to enjoy its natural beauty and endless monuments, museums and shops. There are a reported 6 million people in the greater Hangzhou area, and plenty of them were alongside the lake today.
After doing an entire lap of the lake, which is a few miles, I figure that if I continue crossing paths with this many new people every day, a year from now almost everyone in Hangzhou will be able to recognize me as the foreigner who wears soccer jerseys.