Sunday, 24 February 2008

The College

This is the view from my apartment window - the college buildings are on both sides of the canal. It is such a grand scale that it is overwhelming.

The college has some 7000 students - mainly girls - who are keen to study and get good jobs. It is a private college, so they have to have supportive parents or family to pay their fees.

The College is on 106 acres of land with impressive buildings with marble staircases, and Grecian columns everywhere.

According to the information given to us there are nearly 400 teachers, most of whom are full time at the college.

It is the biggest college specialising in cultivating foreign language talents in Zhejian Province.

There are four canteens where we get meals. We have a plastic card with our credit on it, and we choose a meal at any of the counters of the canteen. Within seconds you are presented with a freshly cooked meal - you can see it being cooked from the counter. It is put on the plate and handed to you as you hand over your plastic card for processing. We take a pair of chopsticks or a spoon to eat and sit down at the many fixed tables and chairs. It is all so quick. And the students/teachers are in and out in no time.

The meals are good - we have found one place where the description of the meal is in English and we can point to the number on the menu - and we only choose things that seem OK to us. Pigs intestines and vegetables, or similar meals are not on our list of preferences!

There are many street vendors, especially around the West Gate and beyond where you walk through the winding lane ways of stalls all seeming to do brisk business as you dodge cars, bicycles, motor scooters and students and other strange vehicles. One can buy almost anything in the stalls.

The fruit and vegetable stalls look OK - I will buy carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, and some green vegetables there - but I have nothing to cook on. I'm looking for a cheap wok somewhere. But no hurry.

I have quite a list of things I need to get - so bit by bit I will set myself up in the apartment to make it comfortable for the next four months or so.

One thing I find amusing is that it is so cold children are rugged up so well, that they could not possibly bend their elbows with the layers of clothes they have, and women carry the little ones around and they look like dolls with arms and legs extended and unable to bend.

We have found the cold hard to deal with but it will warm up soon. Spring starts next week.

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