Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 3- China

(further down the blog all the words are in white. i have no idea why. but for now, just pls high light it)

Today didnt go well at all. And i hate being here. Ill tell you why.

The day started at 7.30am. I changed, and went downstairs to have breakfast. Nuggets. The bus only came at 8.15, so i realise i could revise my waking up time to a later time.

The teacher told us about plans to charter a bus to the silk road place that has a lot of shopping during wednesday, which is the mid autumn festival, so we end early. It was still in the planning stages so we had to discuss somemore.

Class was boring, we learnt about how to tighten bolts and also how to tie them with wire and secure them. The whole morning was theory lessons about only that. I slept through 20 mins of break and it felt really good.

Lunch started at 11.30, grabbing my camera, we headed out to the same canteen for lunch. On the way there, because of the heavy rain last night, the sky was cleared somewhat of smog. A small patch of blue sky was in the distance and it made me happy, becuase the whole time i was here it has been overcast..

We went to another place for lunch (still in the same building but a different restaurant), and the food was better. It just had more meat and this satay that was good.
leaving the place me and jq fell back from the group to take pictures. took quite a lot of pictures, as they had roses growing along the side of the road. I keep having thoughts of plucking one and keeping it. i keep forgetting that im only due to be back in a month.

Before class started, the whole OITP group had a big discussion on where to go during our weekends. We were set for going to silk road on wednesday. As for the weekends, majority of students wanted to go to a theme park. Me and JQ appealed to the teacher that we wanted to opt out of the theme park if the people decided to go. i think the teacher likes us cuz he praised us for our maturity and agreed with us.

The teacher tried to persuade the other students to change their minds but the stupid students were still wanting to go to a theme park.

It doesnt really make a difference for me, since i can opt out. I just need enough people for the teacher to feel safe that we can go to the city to shop by ourselves.

Class started, and we were split into 4 groups. The teacher was going to bring groups 1 by 1 to learn how to tighten bolts and stuff. Practical lessons. While the rest of the groups sat in the classroom to watch the show "air crash investigation". I slept through 1/4 of the waiting time, as it was quite boring cuz i have watched them before...It was only after 2 episodes of air crash investigation finished that it was our turn to go tighten the bolts.

It was interesting, tightening bolts, though i spent more time wandering around the engine room taking photos again. the engines were just so magnificent.

That was the fun part of the day. It was cut short since the bus arrived already and we were running past 4.30 anyway. On the bus, we discussed more and me and JQ decided that we wanted to go to the city to check things out. We managed to get 1 more person along with us, but that was about it.

When we arrived at the hotel i was at the lobby asking the other students if they wanted to tag along. i managed to get 1 group of 8 people to tag along with us,so I told them to meet me downstairs at 5.15, while they were preparing, i would be buying phone cards and that i would be asking the concierge on where to go for shopping and how to go there.

I got a green light from the teacher when i explained my plan to him, and i was really excited.

I waited for some students that also wanted to buy the phone cards, then went to the stall outside the hotel. before i went out of the hotel another group came in holding phone cards. Crap. Because i knew that the shop had limited supply.

I wrote part of my email to Sharlene then, while walking out to the shop.. I didnt know why i was rushing, because i seemed like i had enough time as it was still 5pm and the shuttle bus only arrives at 5.45. But i rushed anyway...

I managed to get the last international number from the shop. There was no more top ups so i was stuck with 30 bucks worth of calls. My other friends all got domestic cards, which were in abundant supply. The shop auntie told me to come back tomorrow when she recieves her new stock of cards..

Then i went back into the hotel and started asking the hotel staff on how to go about shopping. The first preson i asked didnt really understand what i wanted, and then we managed to find some manager or something. This guy which spoke moderately good english and was really helpful.

He showed us which street had lots of shopping and what trains to take. I had to take pictures and maps cuz i couldnt remember Chinese names properly.

I always assumed that travelling time wouldnt be more than 20 mins. Gosh i was wrong. Their maps were in a larger scale that singapore maps. thats why i mis estimated.

The news was bad when JQ found out that it would take 50 mins to go to some train interchange, then another 20 mins to the shopping area.

Looking that quite a lot of people has came down already, we decided to just go ahead with it. it was 5.30 then. I typed somemore and tried sending through my iphone's notepad app. then i realised that it didnt work last time so i used safari to send it through hotmail instead. So it worked. The bus was already here by then and so we had to board.

However, only 15 people could go on and there was like another group wanting to go.

the arrangement was to head to terminal 3, then take a shuttle to meet the other group (who will take another hotel shuttle to terminal 2 when the bus arrives 15 mins later),the idea being that we would meet each other at terminal 2 at the same time, then take a train down to the city.

It was a bad idea, since terminal 2 was at the other end of the airport and it took us even longer to reach.. we wasted a lot of time.. We eventually took the airport train to the city. It cost each of us 5 sing dollars.

The city was around 80 km away from the airport, i know this because i stood at the drivers cab at the head of the train and looked at its speedometer. It averaged 100km/h.

When we arrived at the interchange, the other groups still wanted to continue on, but my group of 4 people (yep, one more guy joined us), decided to stay put at this area and make do with whatever shopping is around, tihs was due to time constraints because it was already quite late and we didnt have much more time to spare.

We came out of the subway and was greeted by large buildings, however, most of them were office bildings and only raffles city was a mall and some other chinese mall.. We decided to head to raffles city, crossing roads that had pedestrian crossings but did not have traffic lights. We just essentially jaywalked all the way, i guess thats how the system works in here..

Raffles city was disappointing. The goods were real, branded stuff, like zeke, levis, juicy, no nothing. We walked around, and the prices were high. It just felt like singapore again. Its so similar, and nothing was cheaper that it was in singapore. We walked the basement several times and no food appealed to us. The 2 guys in my little private group decided on subway, while me and JQ told them we would meet again at 7.30

so JQ and i roamed. We walked out into a back alley, and around a corner, a really nice smell of barbeque assualted our noses. Tempted, it looked real good and we were hungry, but we resisted. You never know whats in there... We walked quite far before we had to turn back due to time. We stopped at a convenicene stall to buy some biscuits and maggie mee, just incase we did not find food to eat..

We headed back, and then rejoined with our 2 members and started to leave. Thats when we saw the other herd of people from oitp. Apparently, they copied us and decided to stay in the area too.. (i wasnt leading the herd, i just kinda gathered them initially at the hotel and offered them to tag along with me, just so that the teacher would approve of us going out on our own)

I asked the information counter for other malls near the area and she said there was only one other as this was more of a business district. So we went there. We walked around a bit, but it had almost the same things as raffles city had. Real goods, however, they were expensive.

It was hopeless, so me and JQ decided to eat at Mcdonalds, while the other 2 went to look around again. The macdonald wasnt really different from singapores macdonald, it just had some additional stuff that we dont have, like the grilled chicken sandwhich i had. They also have just caught on to the concept of chicken nuggets with something like curry sauce.

The grilled chicken sandwhich i had was nice. It tasted like a well grilled and tasty chicken patty in a sandwhich with a bit of the sauce from big macs. Its not bad. JQ had a McSpicy, which he said was hotter than Singapores version.

The fries there were a little stubbier and shorter, and the coke tasted different, like the china cokes my father buys..

After that, we went to the basement to look for our group members, and saw ajisen. heh. Would have eaten there if we had found it first. There was nothing much there to look at, and so we decided to head home as it was already 9 anyway.

Back at the train station we met with the herd of people from other groups again. Some took taxi back while 11 of us took public transportation back again.. The ride was long.

We waited quite a while for the bus shuttle to the hotel to arrive, and waited longer while the hotel staff had to delay the bus so that some customer can be fetched when he comes out of the airport. Wasted a lot of precious time.

Arrived back in the hotel only at 10.30...

Today was a really unfruitful day.. and a bad day too. My smses never got through to Sharlene it turns out.. and i shouldnt have listened to the phone shop auntie on what to dial when trying to contact people.

So far Beijing has been bad.. sigh. I just hope that tomorrows trip would yield some results.

Im sorry dear Sharlene, today could have gone better,
I hope you have a good nights sleep, and a good day tomorrow.. :(


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