mercifully short

Chengdu, China

Tue, 16 Apr 2002 09:22:33 +0100 (BST)

Hello everyone, hope you're all hale and hearty. I'm at a bit of a low point myself, having just spent almost all of the last 3 days either in bed or on the toilet! Now, I'm feeling better and fairly damn hungry. I've just pollished off a McDonalds McTasteless burger, it's the nearest thing I've had to food in a few days and should be fairly easy on the system.

I have other news, apart from my guts, although this is not a mail about my first few weeks in China. If you'll excuse the pun, I couldn't be arsed writing about that at the moment.

My big news is that I've got myself a job. For the next 3 and bit months I'll be teaching English to Chinese people at the Morehead State University English School. I don't know if it'll live up to it's name but I certainly couldn't be getting any less!

I wasn't planning on working during this trip and I certainly never thought of teaching in China but there you go. To quote Top Secret, "Things change, people change, hairstyles change, interest rates fluctuate". Basically I'm fair bored with travelling and sight seeing. I no longer enjoy getting up at 5am and catching a deathtrap bus just so I can freeze my arse off taking photos that'll never be as good as the postcards. I'm almost glad the Taliban blew up that giant Buddha - now I can never go and be disappointed by it! I'm hoping though that after 3 months of teaching, that bus trip will sound like heaven!

I won't be stuck in the city for all that time, I'll get a week off for the May Day celebrations. I've also got a ticket to Ireland v Germany on Jun 5th and I have time off to race to Japan, watch the match and come back in one swift, fluid movement (ok, no more toilet jokes). This flying visit will use up almost everything I earn in those 3 months but it means when I go to Japan again to travel around properly, the World Cup will be over which should make it a lot easier and cheaper.

Apart from pay me roughly what I'd get on the dole, they're giving me a nice appartment, so if anyone fancies an exotic holiday and wants to use Chengdu as a base to explore some very nice bits of China, let me know. I think you can fly here direct from Europe now, you can certainly fly from Bangkok. I think I'll have to share the appartment with someone eventually but hopefully they'd tolerate a visitor.

I don't move into the apparetment until Sunday, so I've been in the dorm in Sam's Guesthouse for quite some time. It gets pretty tiring, living with strangers all the time but I've met some nice people. Tim, the Australian who couldn't hold his drink (what a surprise eh?) Sam and Mike, 2 Americans who got drunk with myself and Tim. Mike almost lost an eye when he hit poked himself with a piece of meat he just bought from the spiciest meat seller in Chengdu (the capital of Szechuan province, known throughout East Asia for it's ridiculously spicy food). How drunk do you have to be to poke yourself in the eye with a bit of meat you're trying to eat? Thomas and Amela from Singapore who are travelling for 6 months. In Singapore, taking even 1 month off work to travel is something only a lunatic would do. And John, a Californian, who had the bed next to me for the last few days. A good bloke in the end but he made a bad first impression when I was woken up one morning by the sound of him brushing his chest hair!!

So, that's about it for now, things are going to be pretty quiet I reckon once I get settled down so no more unreadably long emails. Once I get travelling again I've only Japan, Oz and Mexico left. I suspect they won't have the same quality of weirdos and criminals. One can but hope. Bye for now,

F