This is an imported post from my travel blog for my China trip in 2006.
Caoxian is quite different from what I expected.. actually I still don’t know what I expected but a place like this I could probably only have imagined. It is unlike any place I’ve been before and this is not something I say in a negative way – I don’t mind different…Anyhow, Caoxian is apparently about the size of a larger Swedish town (200k inhabiants) but it feels very rural. The roads are wide (as seems to be common in Chinese cities), most of the houses look very run-down and many of the people who live here are quite poor. This is a place where many earn less than 1000 yuan per month. Jianglei and her sister, Changlei, have, since we came, set up a very detailed schedule for us (mostly me – but Marten also tags along) – a schedule we never quite know in advance, they simply tell us “now let’s eat”, “now we’re going into town”,
“we’ll go and meet some students now” and so on. We express our general wishes but in the end we’re at their mercy :). No worries though, they take very good care of us. We live together with their family in their parent’s apartment in Caoxian. Everyone here is very friendly and their mother cooks the most tasty (no I should say delicious – all Chinese people use the word ‘delicious’ when speaking about good food in english for some reason) meals for us! The actual english course won’t start until the 15th of July and right now we’re doing some heavy “marketing”. Marketing basically means that me and Marten hangs around smiling, saying things in a mix of Chinese and English. This is enough to create quite a big commotion – when we went to one of the local secondary schools I had probably 50-60 students gathering around me, shyly responding when I ask them “Hello, what is your name? nice to meet you! how are you?”. I don’t think I’ve at any point previously attracted so much attention, when we go bicycling (me and Marten likes going bicycling – when Jianglei wants to take a “taxi” we insist on bicycling) everyone’s looking and pointing – mind you, everyone here seems very friendly. I won’t make this much longer but I’d just like to say that it’s certainly very intense. Currently, sometimes, things seem a bit overwhelming but most of all it’s fun, I try to take it as easy as I can and always try to find things amusing rather than stressful – so far it works pretty well! 🙂 That’s it for now… I’ll try to write shorter and more often… Make sure you have a look at my photos and post comments so that I won’t xiangjia (miss home).