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China Travel Blog

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Hello? operator..get me outta here!

A friend of mine introduced me to Lin , a woman who was looking for a language tutor. To improve her employment she was taking a test in Japanese, often the case in China where multinational businesses are the lifeblood of economic growth. I agreed to teach her a couple hrs a week and told her to get the textbook Mina No Nihongo an excellent teaching book. She was making slow but steady progress but like most Chinese she expected instant results and when that didn’t happen she became frustrated with me of course. I was ready to give up myself after a couple of months. One day I mentioned to her I was trying to find a new flat and she said “why don’t you stay in my place?”. She lived in a company flat.This one she was in now was from a company she no longer worked in but just stayed  on in place of an absent colleague, some bribery to the caretaker also helped. She now was moving to a new company flat and offered this one to me rent free, only had to continue the bribery. The whole idea was quite dodgy but nonetheless I went with her to have a look. We took the  bus to an Industrial area with enormous company buildings. Sandwhiched somewhere between was a little neighbourhood of  flats for the employees. I  followed her up in the stairs of a tile covered cement block. Her flat was just to be expected bare and dirty. A steel pot and plastic bowls filled with half-eaten stew were on the floor the lounge. The was very little  furniture only rusty steel beds in  the two rooms and a cracked  table that was piled with  a tv, packages of dried soup, cds, and assorted clutter. The place was very much like a boys dorm, a dump really,  the bathroom was like a public one, the paint was flaking off the doors. “So how do you like it?” she  asked optimistically “ Well..” I tried not to show my disgust “I don’t know…really”. We sat down on an stretched out cot and watched some local soap opera. I was drinking the green tea she gave me wondering what I was doing in this shambles. She getting very friendly but I was just making mono-syllabic replies. “Oh well, it’s a totally different mentality and tolerance to poor  living standards  and blah.. blah..” I was drifting off in my grand thoughts "really you can't expect much..blah blah" I turned to see her looking me  expectantly. “Uh.. yes right..what were you saying again?” I felt like I was crawling up from a dull dirty canal, everything was blurry. She was still looking eager, I guess she was expecting a move from me or something, yikes! She  was definitely not attractive to me and I had no intention of obliging. I quickly made some excuse (like the sun going down or something) and got out as fast as I could. If anything, that was the strangest house visit. 

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Hello? operator..get me outta here!
Hello? operator..get me outta here!