Shenzhen, China
29° 25' N 121° 20' E
Jan 15, 2005 02:30
Distance 1072km

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Text written in: English

You wouldn't like me when I'm grumpy !

The interpreter kept me distracted thankfully with an incessant translation of what the Principal was telling me about my role, how I'd be an aide to their "El Presidente" as well as teach, and how I wasn't to mention the fact I was working to anyone as I my visa wasn't completely sorted yet etc etc.........

After an interminable amount of grey, lacklustre, urban sprawl we finally arrived at my new lodgings.

Hmmmmmmm ! It was a bit of a shocker ! It was bloody lucky I'd prepared myself to expect the bare minimum back in Blighty, as that was what I got !

If you've ever seen decrepit old apartment block areas of Singapore or anywhere in Asia, or even just the crappier side of Tower Hamlets, then you're nearly on target ! Crumbling old stained apartment blocks, piled one on top of the other, with the most amazing smorgasbord of aromas wafting around, (unfortunately, not really any of them pleasant !)

I witheld judgement until I'd seen the flat as I walked through the broken down open hallways,filled with liquid of unusual origins, and, for lack of a better word, smeg ! But it didn't make things any better ! The flat was compact, freezing, hadn't been cleaned since the last person left it, with absolutely no character; in fact made the journey up to it seem positively attractive ! The bathroom, (well Wet Room to describe it properly), was clean, and white, and new; the complete antithisis of the "cooker" ! Kitchen was just a counter with sink, and a fridge, and the cooking facilities consisted of a twin gas ring affair, sat on the counter, that looked as if it was responsible for looking after the entire European Grease Mountain ! I was feeling a tad dischuffed about the whole affair at that point I must admit. I did realise that half of it was down to a lack of Zzzzz, and culture shock, but it wasn't helped by going to get some scram ! They took me for something to eat, but as I couldn't order anything off the menu, the interpreter had to negotiate on my behalf in order to get me something veggie ! Felt like a fish, totally outta water at that point ! Suppose I was !

We then popped round the bank to exchange my remaining HK dollars, and then went to sort me out some necessarries like toothbrush, towels, bedding etc....

The girls were looking after me at that point, which I totally appreciated as I was not in any fit state, lingoistically, or otherwise, to be able to make any decisions ! Just wanted solitude, my bed, and to wake up back in London !

Got part of it at least ! After yet again trying to explain to me how the next year was supposed to work, and arranging to meet the interpreter at 9am the following morning for an orientation trip, they left me to my own devices.

Stood looking at my new abode for about 10 minutes, and then buggered off outside to cheer myself up !

Bloody stupid idea !

Culture shock cannot be got rid of by forcing yourself to confront it ! After wandering around for an hour, feeling like a goldfish, (all over, but especially in somewhere so local, you're so unusual, people stare at you as if you had a solid gold, diamond encrusted booger hanging out of your nose), getting seriously irritated by the cacophony of hacking spits that men here are want to do, I decided my white cell was the way forward, and scooted back "home" !

After setting up a multitude of booby traps for any potential burglars, I finally allowed my scorned friend sleep back into my life, and zonked to the sounds of "The Killers", with, (I must admit), my mobile phone with everyones numbers on, like a teddy bear in my hand !

(Note to self: Sleep with your passport under your pillow, not your head ! It sticks to your face like your underpants to your inheritance in hot weather !)

Photos / videos of "You wouldn't like me when I'm grumpy !":

Damn lucky there's no smellovision ! The "Living" room from inside The Spare Bedroom Living room from the front door Kitchen as seen from the living room The Kitchen area....Hmmmmm! A bleeding crap washing machine The "Wet Room" My bedroom My bedroom, seen from the bed My wardrobe (fascinating...eh ??!!) View from the Kitchen window