I missed last week’s update. It was bound to happen soon since I started writing these types of posts. These last few weeks have been much busier. I’ll try to catch up.
Let’s start with Christmas. I won’t need to say much really because my buddy wrote most of what we did. A quick rundown anyway, I spent it in Xi’an, China. We had a Christmas party in my apartment on the 23rd full of sandwiches, snacks, beer, and Bailey’s coffee. All the foreign teachers attended and a few of our students. I took Karaoke serious by bringing it to my apartment. I was able to get the software and hook up my laptop to the television. Sang, drank, opened secret Santa presents, and laughed. This crowd is wonderful. Though I’d prefer to spend the holidays with my family, this is the second best thing. The people you meet in travel sometimes become the new family for the moment.
Christmas Eve was spent downtown. I didn’t expect anything would be going on downtown but I was in the mood for a bit of partying. The entire city was alive though. Several streets were closed down because of the thousands of people on the streets. If you’ve been to Xi’an, everything from the Bell Tower to the south gate streets was closed. More street food than you can possibly imagine. I want you to picture New Years, Mardi gras, Halloween, and somehow Christmas into one party. I forgot the camera unfortunately but it will be up there as one of the most interesting Christmas celebrations I have ever had.
Christmas day was spent mostly cleaning and packing to get ready to leave the next day for Thailand. At night however, the international department at my school threw a fairly large Christmas party. Upon entering the building, six very well dressed females in traditional Chinese silk dresses directed us to our “VIP” front row tables where all the other important people of the school were. I expected a small get together type party but this was a huge production that must’ve taken them weeks to get ready. On the stage, they performed dances, singing, comedy skits, and games. I was a big fan of the dances and believe me I took a ton of videos. I was invited on the stage to play a game with a few other teachers. I do enjoy the attention but this type of attention was with a few hundred people looking at what I’m going to do next. The game completely lost me since the directions were mostly in Chinese but somehow my team won anyway. I always thought whenever my students would say they had to go to rehearsal that it was an excuse to get out of the class (maybe it still was) but I was extremely impressed with the performances they put on for us. At the end of the night, as usual on any other typical day, many pictures were taken of me. Too bad I’m only famous in China.
Next, I had to get to the airport to catch a flight to Bangkok. I live in the mountains on Xi’an, about thirty minutes away from downtown. There are no buses and taxis that could take me to the airport early in the morning. My flight to Bangkok is at 8am meaning I had to leave by 6am. My only hope at this point was to get downtown around 10pm while there were still taxi’s around so I could catch a shuttle bus to the airport at 6am. This leaves me with eight hours of not having a place to officially sleep in. I didn’t want to spend the money to get a hostel either but I still slept in one – just not on a bed. I slept at the hostels lobby couches for a few hours till it was time to get on the shuttle bus. I hardly slept making the flight to Bangkok pretty much a dream including the four hour layover I had in Guangzhou. Eventually I made it to Bangkok with only two hours till Stephanie arrived from Sydney.