Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Where I'm calling from, continued
There's a mountain outside my house. I live in a huge, industrial apartment block. I access my apartment through an alley. But across the closest main road, there is a mountain with pagodas on top. I can see it when I walk out of the front door. It's lovely.
Most teachers in this city live in Li Xie Da Sha, an apartment building the school rents in its entirety. It has a big banner over the entrance that says, "Foreign teachers apartments." I don't live there, for reasons of space and because I applied too late and because the school I work in (there are three in the city) is really far from Li Xie Da Sha. So I live with two lovely British girls in a big building full of Chinese people.
There are good and bad things about this arrangement. The good things include a much higher immersion factor, distance from the incestuous dorm-like lifestyle, and a mountain outside my house. The bad thing is that when I want to go out, I have to make phone calls and plans and take taxis, instead of just walking out in the hall and tagging along with whoever's going out.
I've been exploring Jinan. It's difficult to do because the pollution drapes over the city like a thick blanket. I'm not particularly sensitive to that sort of thing, but I feel the dust in my lungs after a few minutes of walking. It will be better once the rains come and tease the green out of the dead brown trees.