Bye-bye Hunan, Hair-Chop, Guangzhou

Hey everyone! I am in the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport right now, going on some very expensive airport-cafe internet.
Last Thursday I finally got my new resident’s permit, which I was a little afraid I wasn’t going to get in time for my flight, but Owen, the Buckland guy, fanagled my resident’s permit in half the time its supposed to take. I taught my last three classes on Saturday, did a bunch of laundry, cleaned my house and got ready to leave the next day. On Sunday I called a car to bring me to Changsha, kind of early because I was getting anxious just sitting at home trying to find things to do to pass the time.
When I got to Changsha I walked around for a bit but it was super-cold and i didnt bring my heavy winter jacket because I dont want to carry it the whole time i’m in toasty warm thailand. I called my friend Little Seven and went to visit her at the little cafe bar where she works. It was also freezing in there and my feet were wet, but Little Seven gave me some hot water and a candle. I randomly found the book ‘The Wind in the Willows’ on the bookshelf, completely in English, and read that for a while. Then a big group of people came in because it was someones birthday and I met a girl who could speak perfect English. She said she had been learning English for 16 years, but her English was better than most people I’ve met in China who have been learning just as long as her.
After a few hours I went to catch my train, which was at 11pm. As I was walking into the station I ran into some World Teach teachers who were also on their way to Guangzhou, but it turns out we were on different trains that left around the same time. By that time i was a little late to catch my train so i ran to the platform and hopped onto sleeper-car 6 and found my bunk, which happened to be right next to the bathroom. That is never a good spot on the sleeper trains because the light is left on all night, and there is a continuous stream of traffic. As soon as the lights went out, however, I conked out, only waking up when the train stopped at a station.
We arrived in Guangzhou around 8h30 in the morning and I hopped on the now-familiar subway and went back to Shamian island to the youth hostel where I stayed the last time i was in guangzhou.
Everyone was awake in the dorm room, so we all introduced ourselves and there were three other teachers who teach in the same town as a lot of the buckland teachers, Yongzhou in Hunan. There was also a swiss guy who was travelling and an old christian guy who has lived in china for 16 years and was just waiting for his visa.
As soon as i set myself up, i went to the 7-11 and got some breakfast and walked around. It turns out there was a big adoption group all with girl babies from Hunan, around Changsha. The whole group had been in Changsha a week ago. I talked to a little 7 year old girl who was there with her family adopting her little sister, and i told her that my first time in china i was only 11, and that was when i decided to move to china when i grew up. She could speak a little chinese and was wide-eyed in a 7-year-old way, correcting her dad when he said a Chinese word wrong. I like to think i might have influenced her just a little bit by telling her about living in China. Maybe she will move to china when she is older, too!
After that i just went back to the hostel and slept the rest of the morning away because i didnt sleep very soundly on the train. When I woke up everyone had gone their seperate ways, so I decided to go walk around. The week before I had decided to chop off all my hair before I went to Thailand (haircuts are good to get before going on adventures), so I made an appointment with a fancy hair salon in Guangzhou. Little did I know how fancy it was…
When I got there they took my bag and jacket and wrapped me up in a brown jacket-thing and brought me over to the ‘consulting chair’, where i sat and the hairdresser touched my hair and decided what could be done with it. I showed him a picture of what I wanted, and he nodded and sent me to get my hair washed. I think the lady must have washed it four times with all kinds of different stuff, and massaged my head a bit and then dried it off and did a fancy towel wrap. When that was all done they sent me to one of the hair-cutting chairs, which were all positioned so the mirrors they faced reflected each other, allowing the person getting their hair cut to see all sides of their head. The guy came over and started cutting my hair and it must have taken an hour or so, and he was doing all these fancy scissor cuts and chatting away, and then decided he wanted to use a bunch of goo things just for fun, and when he was done i decided the guy was an artist and it was the best haircut I ever got. Maybe its worth paying a little money and not just hacking away at my hair with some scissors in the shower….!
That night I gave some friends a call who I met when they were visiting changsha a few weeks ago. They invited me out for the best hot-pot i’ve ever had. There was endless plates of tripe and beef slices and wierd animal parts and sliced vegetables and little fish and who knows what else, but it was all incredible good and incredibly spicy.
One of them is a hip-hop artist in China and so we went to see one of his friends in their studio in guangzhou and we hung around there and listened to music and drank milk tea. The guy there had a snake that he let me hold, and an orange frog in a box that didnt move for three hours. After a while I was falling asleep and we decided to go. My friend Zhou said he would drive everyone back to their homes, and on the way we stopped for more food. I had some coconut jello stuff that is made out of shaved turtle shell. It sounds weird but its actually really tasty.
The next day (today), I took a .5 yuan ferry accross the river, which i had never known existed. There were a bunch of noodle places and a bakery, and I went with one of the other teachers to get some sweet bread. Their train was at 3pm so we all decided to go get some extremely tasty and cheesy pizza at ‘papa johns’ on one of Guangzhou’s walking streets.
When they had to leave, I decided to stay downtown and walk around for a while to pass time. I took the subway to the train station where there are zillions of enourmous buildings full of shops for wholesalers and regular shoppers. I’m not big on shopping, but there is so much good stuff it is actually kind of fun to poke around and imagine being rich!
After that I went back to the hostel to pick up my bag and hopped on the bus to the airport, where I am now waiting for my check-in time and charging batteries of things that need to be charged.
I’ll be in 86 degree Thailand in exactly 5 hours!!!

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2 comments

  1. Hopefully you are now in Thailand safe and sound…. how about a picture of your new haircut? BE SAFE~!!!!!!
    Love, Mom

  2. Hi Aimee,
    I hope you’re having a good time in Thiland. I loved catching up on your exciting life. Have fun and be safe.
    Aunt Celeste

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