09 September 2006

A Different Type of Bike Adventure: Motorcycle Taxi

This posting has two parts; the title is for part II so I hope you are intrigued enough to read through part I.

Part I: China's Teacher's Day. Sunday (today) is Teacher's Day. Woohoo, I'm a teacher, please think of me :) Just kidding...anyway, to celebrate, our school took us out on Friday to a very nice dinner. They also gave us a very kind card as well. The Chinese teachers and even the Chairman of the Education Bureau joined us for this celebration. Our last formal dinner was full of interesting dishes that we had to try because of the politeness factor. Our first day in Wuxi will always hold a special place in my heart a result of that banquet. Thankfully, Friday's dinner was a bit more tame. Our principal gave a nice opening speech and then we proceeded to have 17 different dishes. I'm not sure what the tradition was, but people went around in groups toasting everyone for Teacher's Day during the meal. The count on toasts was at least 9; it was really fun and our table even did a big one together.

On the way to dinner was the first time we'd cramped four people in the backseat of a taxi.

Our table toasting the camera.

Our principal, on the right, and many of school administration at dinner.

Most of the Chinese teachers. The man with the peace sign on the right is the TA for my classroom, but he does a lot of other things for the school as well.

A whole fish! I must say that it was good as far as whole fish are concerned. My excuse for staying away from seafood here is that I grew up in Colorado, which is very far from water; I've had a few people so far take it as an excuse, which I count as a success.

Just a few of the many dishes we had for dinner; it was super fancy and pretty good, all things considered.

Part II: Motorcycle Taxis. In my last posting, I wrote about our adventures on our bicycles in the city. Today I am pleased to report another type of bike adventure: the thrill of a motorcycle taxi. Whenever we take a normal taxi to school, four of us girls usually ride together and take turns paying. It's around 11-16 RMB (between $1-$2) one way. A motorcycle taxi for a similar distance probably would only cost 5-8 RMB, which is certainly the way to go when riding solo. The place that we had dinner was maybe a 20 minute walk from our apartments so we decided to find some motorcycle taxis to get back. It was such a fun ride that we decided to put our stuff up and go downtown via the same mode of transportation. KFC's ice cream isn't very good, so whenever we go downtown, we hit up McDonald's for one of their sundaes. Never has McDonald's been the solo object of our want/need to go downtown, but our first motorcycle ride was so much fun we just used McDonald's as an excuse to do it again. The second time on a motorcycle taxi proved a bit more challenging because there were five of us. After securing three motorcycles, we told them we wanted to go to the big shopping center. Things were going ok for a bit until we turn off the beaten trail, AWAY from downtown. Now, we've only been here three weeks, but we know in what direction downtown is (just follow the lights and big buildings). After convincing the drivers to stop, we manage to persuade them to go back the opposite direction. Finally, we arrived at our precious Golden Arches. Absolute chaos and much laughter just for ice cream! What a great night!

Megan and I on our motorcycle taxi.

Lindsey and Jamie as their driver peels out.

Lindsey and Jamie demonstrating our "lostness" in the gas station where we stopped. It seems that no matter where we go, we inevitably draw a crowd. This gas station was pretty much in the middle of nowhere (haha, like there is actually a middle of nowhere in our part of China...) but somehow, but the time we left, there were like 6 guys just checking the situation out!

The soft porn ads in McDonald's; it's crazy to note the advertisement here sometimes. There's another one where these are right above the Ronald McDonald statue that children play on. Gotta love subliminal messages!

I guess I didn't realize that cows had chests like that...I don't even really know what to say to that, other than "Welcome to China!"


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