better late than never
as yet uncharted territory

not your usual vacation

ConsumerMoi  Okay, my Typepad access here in China is a little wonky. My interface is a little weird and I can't see the graphics I'm posting. I also can't actually get to my own blogs to look at them, though I can post. I think. Actually, if you're reading this, please email me and let me know you can see it, and what it looks like. It's funny that I can get to Live Journal just fine, probably due to the fact that LJ is now owned by the Russians, who are friends with PRC.

HIT Research gate

Today was sort of a semi-work day, as we had a bunch of errands to do and meetings to sit through. I was up at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM (shocking, I know, to those of you who know me) and looking over my syllabus, such as it is. I've still got some planning to do and that may take a good chunk of tomorrow. Or on the other hand, I may just wait until the work week really begins. We met with Marcy in the morning, briefly, to iron out our first day activities, then scurried off to lunch. Jan took Mike, Mary and I off to another cafeteria entirely than yesterday's, for which I was glad. It's a much nicer cafeteria in a new building with absolutely fantastic food. I think each cafeteria must be run or contracted out to different people or companies. I ordered what amounted to a mini half keg of food, which came in a small wooden bucket of rice with a choice of four, er, concoctions, for want of a better word, to put on top of it. It ends up being an amazingly savory mix of food, and comes with a thin version of egg drop soup, which is not that radioactive yellow color you see in stateside Chinese restaurants. And for all this, which has left me completely stuffed seven hours later, I paid a whopping 7 yuan—a bit over a dollar.

Food is not going to be a big expense here.

After lunch, we rushed over to meet with Wang Liang, our liaison from the Human Resources Department, and our class monitors and assistants. None of us have figured out what the difference between the two is, and "monitor" has that mildly sinister feel to it, but basically they're all there to help us out with the technology and anything else we need. We all introduced ourselves and the teachers (us) talked a little about what we're going to be doing in class. One of the monitors, Mr. Miao (not making that up), very kindly took us to have our mugshots done by an extremely professional photographer working in this backroom studio that looks like it ought to be churning out fake passports for spies. It's easily the best ID photo I've ever had taken in my entire life, except possibly for my first passport picture.

We waited outside for the photos to be ready and watched a couple of in-line skaters doing fancy footwork between tiny cones in the street while we munched on watermelon that Mr. Miao insisted on buying for us.  Have I mentioned how absolutely delightful everyone is?

The campus at HIT is a bit like the campus of NYU: very integrated into the surrounding city, yet separate from it in odd ways. All the buildings are quite open with little in the way of security beyond a receptionist and there are businesses of all kinds scattered across the campus on the ground floors. A lot of these business are set up like mini-malls or flea market stalls, under one roof or out in the open. There are a couple of grocery stores, an optical shop, several banks, bookstores, bakeries, and a coffee shop. I have yet to check out the coffee shop, but it supposedly has great shakes (and coffee) and free wifi.

We've pretty much been going everywhere in groups, but I'm planning my escape for a bit tomorrow. I've finally gotten hold of a map, thanks again to Mr. Miao, and as soon as I actually pinpoint where I am on the map, I'm outta here for some exploration. Of course, that assumes that I'll screw up my courage to actually cross the street. ;^)

Although I've seen a number of other Caucasian students, we still get a lot of curious looks from people. As Marcy and I both agreed last night, this is a good thing for white people to experience, preferably on a regular basis. It's good to see just how much you're in the minority once in a while.

I've got other thoughts, but I'm just about passing out here so I'm going to go crash for a bit. Later for you.

P.S. Pics are starting to show up on Flickr. You can see them here.


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