Chinese Women, Asian Women, Online Dating & Things Chinese and Asian
Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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Hot, hotter, hottest    

By Garreth Humphris
2392 Views | 3 Comments | 8/5/2011 10:41:39 PM

The last few weeks in my home have been pretty warm and uncomfortable - well, it is summer in Suzhou which means temperatures of about 38C, but also the city is located on a river delta hinterland crisscrossed with lakes, rivers and waterways so it is also very very, very 5 steps toward anywhere for instant dampness!!!

To make matters worse, the air conditioner in my house is in dispute...the large one that covers the living area is kaput for some unknown reason and the landlord is adamant that the machine has a 10 year guarantee and it is only 8 years old so he's not going to replace it. I asked him to repair it under warranty but he said the seller won't come look at it and because some other 50mao service company that he called in to service it took off the lid 3 years ago (and not the ’authorized service contractor’) then the guarantee is void. So, the landlord is adamant that the broken air conditioner will get 10 years service, even if it doesn't get turned on for 3 years...his argument is I have air-conditioning in the bedroom so technically the apartment is air-conditioned, but to me it's a moot point! I want to sit in my lounge and not melt.

More intractable Chinese logic that is a daily struggle to just survive daily... I know in 6 months they will break in one morning at 6am, drill holes in the wall and place some cheap-arse plastic box that blows tepid air in the middle of the lounge room and I will be expected to jump for joy and gasp in raptures at his largess at buying a new air conditioner in the middle of winter. Sigh.. TIC.

The other issue I am contending with is the teacher demand... I do part-time training for English Language Training companies and the summer season quickly dries up the pool of reliable teachers locally as the other part-timers go home on holidays and the full-timers become mysteriously infected with apathy... "too damn hot to work, pass me another " and "everyone else has a holiday so I should be entitled to one too” or “my grandmothers' cat's toenail is infected and I must rush somewhere other than work to fix it”.

As a result of all these westerner calamities, I end up working 60 hours a week in cluggy classrooms with broken air conditioners and 30 kids (must be the same landlord), whizzing around in rust bucket minivans (loaves of bread on wheels) to corporate clients and then performing like a manic clown to English Corners of 60 glum-faced adults who are only in the classroom to escape the heat outside.

The schools say ’think of the money you’re earning' as the allocate another hour of hyperactive 8 year olds who’s sole aim in life is to impale each other with colored pencils. But it is of little comfort as my bread van sails past the local watering hole and I spy the teacher who should be taking my next adopted class and is apparently ’sick in bed with H1N1’, but they have made a miraculous recovery via ingestion of cool alcoholic beverage. ”That’s my G & T you’re sipping” I scream over the roar of the 50CC engine, but it is lost in the cloud of blue smoke and rust particles that spews from the back of the van. I see the appeal of the lifestyle - I really do!!!

The other issue that seems to have cropped up is the apparent lack of taxis in summer. In the good old days when most Chinese thought that a 25km walk across town was a better option than a 1RMB bus ride, the uber-expensive taxi was a luxury enjoyed by those extravagantly rich foreigners!!! They'd spend enough money for 5 bowls of jiaozi on a taxi, just to get anywhere on time!!! Well, now things are different - the young people have all gotten over their travel sickness and aversion to spending (their parents) hard-earned money and the little buggers are faster than me! I wallow around in the hot sun on the roadway, languidly flopping an arm around in the sky trying to attract attention while they lurk under the trees on in the shops and at the first sign of a slowing taxi, they leap out sprinting wildly and diving into the taxi. My mute protest is usually met with 'the bird', so I'm often not impressed.

So that's it, hot, hotter, hottest...hope it starts to cool down soon!!

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#2011-08-05 22:48:39 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

And yet, in spite of the supreme discomfort you are going through you found the energy to write a very humourous and enlightening blog for us, your admiring readers. I say this with the greatest of respect because I know very well how difficult it is to work up the energy to write when you're in this overwhelming heat/humidity, so thanks for coming through.

BTW, I now try to see the bright side - no matter how bad it is in Hangzhou or Suzhou, it surely will be far worse in Guangzhou - what say you Neil? And I just got off a chat with a friend in Qatar where it was 50 degrees - on his webcam he looked like he was literally melting!

#2011-08-06 07:10:51 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

I read this with much humor as I literally am 2 feet away from a cool (damn-near) COLD-ASS air conditioner. :) And it's only 77° F (25°C) outside!

I know, I know. What the hell am I doing with a AC on in such mild temperatures? I got hot blood, everyone. I burn up and sweat even when thinking hard! I'm also in the north. With very cold winters. Try spending a winter in Boston and your blood will get used to the cold after 40 years. 25° C, ssssshiiiit, turn on the AC and let me feel the freeze.

Guangzhou now.. I can't imagine what it is like now, but I remember in my late September visit and I was friggin' burning up in that muggy-ass humidity!! My goodness! Carry a towel when you go! I needed one because I don't have the hair on the top of my head to guide the sweat down my back or the temples of my ears. No.. the sweat beads up on the top of my head until it can't bead anymore and just pours down my face. Next hot visit to GZ.. SWEAT BAND for me, along with a summer Kangol hat. A nice white one to reflect the sun and heat.

Man, maybe it's time to bite the bullet and buy one of your own indoor AC units that you can attached a hose to the window opening. Use cardboard pr wood with duct tape to seal the rest of the window (if it's an odd size). I see those indoor ACs and wish they were selling them when I had an apartment that couldn't fit a AC inside. Summer in China is nothing one to play with. Go ahead, Garreth, treat yourself! You deserve to be cool. Especially with that hot spicy food there! ;)

#2011-08-12 13:15:33 by scottl0819 @scottl0819

Hang in there, only a couple more months! I am not missing southern China this summer! Back in the States now, enjoying nice Boston weather!
But I will be back in GZ in 5 weeks. Not looking forward to the hot muggy weather of September.

Stay cool! And I will think about how hot it is there as I lie in my pool!

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