Friday, April 09, 2004

Greetings Bloggees,

Once again I've caught the Great Firewall of China with it's guard down. So, I'll catch you up on all my current happenings here, while I've got the chance.

I don't want to jump the gun here and tell all of you out there in Bloggerland that I am going to be moving to Thailand, but it sure looks that way at present. I've signed a contract with a school in southern Thailand, near the Malaysian border, which was the most lucrative one to cross my computer screen lately.

Yesterday I mailed out a package containing my signed contract, copies of my degrees, my passport photos, TEFL certificate and other documents, to arrive in Bangkok (where the hiring agency is located) in ten days. I had to act on this opportunity quickly because this position is a good one, offering 48,000 Baht to start and offering many bonuses besides the regular salary.

So, hopefully things will progress smoothly and I will be moving to southern Thailand in July.

I kicked my current girlfriend, the Cantonese doctor from Guangzhou, to the curb. She turned out to be yet another "unfaithful" one, having a French boyfriend on the side. I don't know what it is about me, having this affinity for unfaithful women. Looking back, probably the best woman I had a hold of, was Alison in New Hampshire, but my wanderlust and stupidity got in the way of that relationship.

So, my search goes on....

Presently I'm in a mild panic over my visa situation here. My visa will expire in about sixteen days and the school says they cannot provide the visa service anymore. So, I will have to travel to Hong Kong soon to do a "visa run" which involves hopping on a bus to Hong Kong at 4:30 p.m. here at the transportation center, arriving in Hong Kong around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., getting a hotel and then heading to the Consulate Department Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (what a mouthful) the next morning, to obtain my (rather expensive) multi-entry visa via one-day processing and then traveling back to Guangzhou.

Sounds like quite the hassle, but I plan on using it as a nice opportunity to explore the night life in Hong Kong for at least one evening. I've been to Hong Kong at least three times, but only to the airport on Lantau Island. This time I'll be exploring Wan Chai. So, I'll update all of you, as to my progress, in a later blog.

My old acquaintance Sebastien, whose visa was allowed to expire by the Phoenix City Hotel where he worked, went on a visa run to Hong Kong about two weeks ago and he's been detained ever since. My Nepalese friends Tanka and Bala have informed me that Sebastien is not allowed back in China and his situation looks pretty grave. So, I'm hoping that I won't end up in a similar situation and end up deported to the U.S. It seems Sebastien will eventually be allowed to re-enter China, but only to pack his things and return to Canada.

So today I'm doing some research on visa requirements in Hong Kong. Tonight Tanka and I will be heading out to Xintang to go out to eat and maybe do a little shopping. Tomorrow I head back to Guangzhou for my private English class and then I'll meet up with the father of one of my students. Kenan is Genwa's father and a native of Syria. His English is good and he's been inviting me to the Maedah Muslim Restaurant in West Guangzhou, a place I really love.

Just walking towards the Maedah restaurant is a cultural experience. Although in China, this particular neighborhood is a resting place for many Africans, Indians, Nepalese and Middle Easterners. Once inside, the Chinese waitresses wear traditional Muslim attire and the clientelle scattered about at different tables gives the impression you're visiting some Middle Eastern country for a few hours.

The Africans often show up in brightly colored dresses and scarfs and the muslims sport various styled and colored skullcaps, which adds to the flavor of this exciting place. The conversation is a mixture of several languages, which is interesting to listen to. The food is delicious and I especially like the Lebanese flatbreads that I use to sop up the very last droppings of my flavorful plate.

Enough for now. I'm gonna be taking a closer look at this strange and harsh land in the next couple of months while I prepare for my move to the "Land of Smiles."



Web Analytics