I finally went to Guixi to see some of my summer camp kids. For the two months I have been in Shangrao, they have been asking me to come see them. I have cancelled more than once. So, I decided to go this weekend.
I arrived Friday night and got a hotel room. It is only about an hour by train from Shangrao. The hotel was ok, except for some guests. I have been sick with allergies for about two weeks now. When I lay down or have a window open, I begin to cough up a lung. You know that type of cough I am referring to. Well, I accidently left the window open. And, around 3:30 in the morning, I cough myself awake. After about 30 minutes, I hear people in the hallway. they are very loud. Next thing I know, two men and woman are laughing and partying it up. They are drunk. And, they have left their room door wide open. The hallway echos badly. After laying there for a while listening to them, I finally get out of bed, get dressed, and go confront them about the noise. I was not too pleased while speaking to them. They ultimately closed the door, but got louder. Soon, they went quiet…for short time. Then I hear the all too familiar sounds from a hotel room. And, she is not quiet. Thankfully, they only lasted about 5 minutes each and it got quiet again. Until, they decided to party some more. From 4 AM to 6:30 AM, I was awaked numerous times by these three’s all night party. So, not a good night.
The next morning, I went to go visit my kids. It had not rained much for the entire two months I have been here in Jiangxi Province. But, the skies opened up today. Rain throughout the morning made the day a little cold and miserable. And, only two of my 30 kids showed up to greet me. Apparently the kids get to go home one weekend a month..and they did. No one thought ot tell me this. And, some were in classes preparing for the all important mid-term exams. Through the day, I saw a few more. Maybe 10 in total. But, it was only for a hello, how are you, bye type meeting. I did get some really great greeting and huge hugs from some of them. That really made the day for me.
I met up with the foreign teachers there. All very nice people. I like them. We had lunch and talked for a while. Sherri, one of the teachers, introduced me to a unique young man. This young Chinese boy has discovered the difference between the Communist system and the Capitialistic system of China. And, he is very vocal about his dislike for the Communist ways in China. I warned him several times to be cautious about things he says to friends and in public. But, he will be one of China’s future revolutionaries I think. I thought it was quite remarkable that he discovered this by himself. No one told him about these things. Although, instead of saying the word “brainwashing”, he calls it “washing the head”. Kind of funny. He wants to become a travel writer so he can travel the world. And, his English is getting to be very good. I think he will be a great success in anything he does…as long as he can stay out of a Chinese prison for some of the things he says.
With the poor weather, few students to see, work left to do for my classes next week, and not wanting a repeat of the nightly sex party across the hall, I decided to leave a day early. So, I caught the train back to Shangrao. It is funny how God puts people into my path. You will notice the picture of me with a Chinese officer soldier in this post. We began to have some small talk while smoking a cigarette. He does not speak English. But, a 20 year old college student who is his niece, did. She translated for us. He is stationed in Tibet. I did not ask him about his work or about the conflicts in that region. But, he told me that he is the squad leader for his battalion. He also told me that in the Chinese military, soldiers are not permitted to use smart phones or the internet . This way they are not influenced by outside news and other materials. They can only get information that is approved by “leaders”. This way they can stay focused and not have to think too much in battle. They just learn to accept and do as they are told. Actually, I think this is pretty interesting. I do not agree with the practice. But, the philosophy makes sense to me. He has been in Tibet for two years. He was in the area to meet with some officials. We did not discuss the business. He did invite me MANY TIMES to drink some rice wine with him when we were in town. I did not want to drink rice wine. It is a foul taste to me. And, I really had no desire to get drunk. And I know I would if I began drinking with him. Perhaps, we would get drunk enough where I could speak Chinese and he could speak English. Ha Ha. When I took the picture, I asked him if I could. I told him that I was not sure what the military rules are in China. I know that I have been asked not to take pictures of other uniformed people in the past. But, he accepted. I took pictures of him. he took pictures of me, other people were taking pictures with us. It was fun. But, the highlight of the day was an arm wrestling contest between us. Boy, is he strong. Neither one of us won. We quit before either of us pinned the other. But, I think he could have beat me easily. Our hands did not budge from the upright position. But, I think he could have won if he really tried. But, it was fun. And, I can now mark off my number 1 item on my bucket list…arm wrestle a Chinese military officer on a train…Ha Ha.