Monday, January 29, 2007

Lucky 604

Maybe it's a sign before the lunar new year here in China. I got very lucky yesterday.
My girlfriend and I decided to take a trip to Xixiang Carrefour here in Bao'an. I figured I could pick up a few things for my new apartment... like food. As we got off the bus, I wanted to check out the cafe around the corner (turns out it's a restaurant and not a coffee shop). We walked on our way into the shopping center and I reached to change my sunglasses over to my normal glasses. I noticed that my glass case was not in my pocket. It must've fallen out on the bus.
We ran over to the bus stop and stopped the next 604 bus that came along. My girlfriend tried to explain the situation to the driver and he pulled out the phone number of the bus in front of him. She called. After a few minutes of talking, the driver found my glasses and said he'd bring them back to the Bao'an station near our complex in about an hour.
On our arrival at the station, the glasses weren't there. She called the driver again. He explained that his bus broke down, but not to worry as he passed the glasses off to another driver who should arrive shortly. Sure enough, five minutes later another 604 arrives and the driver steps off the bus carrying my glasses. I thanked him a few dozen times.
After all my bad experiences on buses, I've finally regained faith in some people. I'm proud to say that some people around here are still good natured and kind. So, if you're in Bao'an and want to take an old, dirty bus through the streets, pick up the 604.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I have a new visa thanks to the Hong Kong process. Unfortunately, it's not the one I wanted. I thought I had everything in order--I e-mailed and my girlfriend called numerous times to get a variety of answers that contradicted each other. Apparently I was missing one piece of paper (which I was told wasn't necessary if you have two prior visas) that comes from "an authorizing department." Of course, being China, they don't tell you what this mystical department is. So, I'm stuck with having to possibly hop back to HK mid-March for another of the same short-term visa.
Not all is sad though here. I have been in contact with many more employers (some of whom offer visas for employees). The only problem I see so far is that the best paying and best fit job for my abilities is also the most boring. It also doesn't allow me to go home for the summer. They better make a great offer of monetary compensation if they really want me there.
Alas, I need to stay here in Shenzhen for a while and I hope I can find something I'll enjoy. I really don't like life here much--there is only one reason I've stayed as long as I have. My girlfriend has always been more than helpful and caring. And her mom's cooking is the best food around.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Things are looking good lately. I have my papers in order to go make my visa run to Hong Kong on Tuesday (I think that's when I'll go anyway). Of course, now I have make an extra stop at the U.S. consulate to get more pages added in my passport because China believes in using tons of pages for visas and stamps. I have my letter to get a six-month F visa. I was considering something longer, but I may end up going to a university in Shanghai to study Chinese in the fall. Or maybe I'll find one of the nice jobs I've seen listed online lately, and they'll provide another visa for me.
Anyway, the company giving me the letter wants me to start up some English training for their employees. The boss also has asked me to tutor his two kids. On top of that, I have some part-time adult classes to teach starting in March. I'm even being approached by some local schools and waiting on a few editing/copywriting positions. Seems like too many offers rolling in.
The best offer I'm waiting on is Asia's Best Hotels Guide. I was contacted a while back about this. They finally e-mailed again and said they've been delayed and will send out assignments relatively soon.
There is one sore spot here. My new apartment has a problem with the phone lines. I can't get my Internet hooked up. So, for now, my computer and connection are set in my girlfriend's home. I hope all this is sorted out before I take my short trip to Thailand in a couple weeks.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I got canned on Friday. And I couldn't be happier. I don't have to show up to Tsinghua Experimental School in Shenzhen anymore. I even went out with continuing staff that night to celebrate with sushi and sake... and then tons of beer at Green until about 2:30am.

My girlfriend has been more than helpful in trying to find me a new home and some private students to give me an income. I figure I have about 3 and a half months of livable money saved in my account here. So, I'm not too worried about money. This gives me plenty of time to sit home and write and possibly make real money.

The only difficulty I have is that the school wants my passport so they can cancel my Residence Permit and replace it with a 30-day L visa. Now, from what I've read online, they don't have to cancel it and they must have my passport in order to do so. But I also need my passport to find an apartment, move my internet access, set up a phone, change bank accounts, and possibly go to appointments outside of Bao'an if/when they check IDs at the SEZ checkpoint.

Anyone an expert on the Z visa in China? I really could use some advice here. Otherwise it's another 1000 kuai for a business visa plus expenses to Hong Kong.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Chinese school calendars

I can finally post after the Taiwan earthquake that has disrupted internet access across Asia. And yes, I did feel a bit of the quake here in Bao'an.
Anyway, on to New Year's!
We had to work Saturday and Sunday to make up for the time the school was giving us off. We had Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off. I'm a little rusty on my math, but I think this is pretty stupid. We always have two days off each week. This means that in exchange for ONE extra day off, we had to work TWO days. Anyone else confused? I know the Chinese staff was a little perplexed. But I just found out on Wednesday afternoon that I won't have class Thursday for some reason.
Well, we had hot pot at my girlfriend's home on the eve with a few foreign teachers. There was tons of food. But we were too exhausted from sitting and eating to go out. It was an effort (mostly on my part) to keep everyone awake until midnight to drink the champagne that I bought earlier. They opened a new Carrefour store closer than Commie-Mart. The place is immense. There is a mall around the store with restaurants, a bookstore, and even a movie theater (50 kuai for one ticket). The liquor store is quite nice and pricey--it carries a bottle of Absinth from Czech Republic which we will try at some point.
Tuesday was fun with a trip with my girlfriend and her mom to Lianhuashan park and the statue of Deng Xiaoping (story and photos to come).