Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Don't Think I'm Staying

On Friday, our classes were changed for the fourth time.  We were all so confused, as were the kids, but maybe they are used to it, living in China...I got a new fifth grade class at the very end of the day.  Fifth graders can make anyone want to go home from anywhere...the girls were sweet but the boys were crazy. All of us had the same experience- what a day to change the schedule, there was a typhoon brewing. Then on the way home I was almost hit by a rickshaw, the internet wouldn't connect at the cafe and when it finally did it froze, I got home and my room key didn't work and had to be reset, then when I got into my room my lights were burned out.  I just layed there, staring at the ceiling. 
It was Friday night and we all decided to meet in Shaoxing (in the city center) at Starbucks (not my idea), so Amy and I decided to take a cab to an Indian restaurant. I haven't mentioned the traffic patterns here...rickshaws, taxis, cars, busses, bicyclists and pedestrians all move in some sort of magic synchronicity here. The lights don't mean much, and neither do the crosswalks. Everyone just does where they want and if they come close to getting hit, they don't flinch.
All of us feel we are playing Frogger each time we cross the street but we are getting pretty good at it. Anyway, we take this taxi to the city and get Speed Racer for a driver. So not only are we coming within inches of busses and people and other cars, but he is driving like he is in Germany.  Amy started saying the Lord's Prayer and then switched to asking her mother who died last year to help us!  I honestly regretted that I had never told anyone a song to play at my funeral.
Obviously we made it, had a great dinner, then went to some bars in Shaoxing.  At one, the usual techno was playing and suddenly we heard "Every Sha la la la, every whoa whoa whoa..." Karen Carpenter...Amy and I went crazy, singing for everyone's entertainment. And I thought, hey, maybe that is "my song." Casey always said that the difference between me and her was that she was raised on Bob Dylan and I was raised on Karen Carpenter...
All in all, this is what traveling is - ups and downs and a lot of craziness. But really, what you want after even a week of being in a strange place where nothing works well and where the rules don't apply is just a Friday night dinner at the Phinney Market and a good night's sleep in your own bed (followed by a Chinese foot massage). 

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