posted by Sarah
Today (Wednesday) is the first time I’ve ever had school off for RAIN. It’s a strange feeling. Yesterday we bicycled to campus in a miserable downpour, not noticing that the last residents left their rain ponchos until we were back at home, soaking wet. And let me tell you: riding a bicycle while holding an umbrella is way harder than it looks. Ah well!
The rain is due to Typhoon Wipha, one of the biggest storms to hit southeast China in a decade. Shanghai and some of the coastal cities of Zhejiang province caught (or will catch) the brunt of it; Shaoxing is far enough inland that we just got a lot of rain — which has actually cleared up now.
Besides the rain, we’ve been getting a little bit more into the routine of things. Last Friday, we celebrated the end of our first week of school by purchasing a bottle of Great Wall Cabernet from the local grocery store. It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t horrible, either. We didn’t finish the bottle. Chinese wine has a long way to go, I think.
Outside of school, we’ve been attending something called “English Salon” every Friday night (Joel mentioned this in our last post). Shaoxingese come to Cafe Dio (a coffee shop) to improve their English speaking skills. When I say coffee shop, I don’t actually mean like a local living-room-feel Starbucks. The coffee establishments here are more like swanky hotel restaurants, with marble floors, elegant lighting, linens on tables, and a live piano player playing background music on a lacquered black grand piano. The English Salon crowd (numbering about 50 each week) has its own private back meeting room . What’s funny is that hardly anyone orders anything to eat or drink – water and green tea is free! So I guess the status of having English speakers is worth it for the Cafe.
Here are some other pictures of Shaoxing that I hope you’ll enjoy. So. ENJOY!
The lake/pond next to Yuan Pei. In the background are Buildings 1 & 2. The school is set up more like a high school campus than a college campus, as bells ring for the start and end of every period.
Here’s the wooden walkway that connects the campus to the dorms on the other side of the garden/park. Although the water is pretty murky, you can see small schools of fish swimming near the surface.