In the past few days I’ve started working on my research. At this point I don’t have a lot of work each day so I have a lot of free time. I’ve been using this time to talk more with the people I’m working with and also practicing my Chinese with them. One of my fellow undergraduates in my lab is very helpful and friendly. With his help I’ve been able to add some more words to my vocabulary. Listening to them speak is still very hard since they talk rather fast and I can only understand the simplest sentences. I’ve been eating most of my meals with them as well and its quite funny since they have a set schedule when its time to eat. Its a bit flexible but the times are usually 11:30 for lunch and between 5 and 5:30 for dinner. We usually go to the canteen which has decent food for very cheap. The noodles are very tasty and are made by shaving off slivers from a chunk of dough into a pot of boiling water.
Yesterday I went with three other people from my lab to the island with the University’s other campus on it. To get there we took a bus, a ferry, and another bus. The total travel time was about 40 minutes. The transportation is free for students and was quite convenient since the buses were school owned and came right onto campus. Something I found rather funny was that the seats on the ferry had covers on them with the usual Chinese characters as well as the words “La Vie” in French. Making it quite literally a “Life” boat. When we got to the island we got on the bus and took it a short distance before getting off in the middle of nowhere and walking to the beach. One of the women was collecting shells to help teach her class and there were many to choose from. We walked along the beach for about an hour before we walked inland to the campus. Before we got to the campus we stopped at a small restaurant to get a plate of the local ice and fruit dish. This is really tasty and they consist of crushed ice, sweet milk, and some type of fruit. The one we ordered was mango and we ate all of it.
This campus was built recently and it looked very impressive. The library on this campus was massive but we couldn’t go inside because it’s closed on Wednesdays (no idea why that is). After walking around the campus for a bit we returned to Xiamen island. We then walked into the down town section and went to a pizza restaurant called Jazzy Pizza to have our dinner. The pizza here was similar to Pizza Hut but with a few more options. One of the pizzas I tried had fish on it and was surprisingly good. After we finished eating we joined up with some other students who were at the same restaurant and then went out to Karaoke. I had been to Karaoke multiple times in Hong Kong last semester so I knew what I was getting into. Anyone who knows me well also knows that I have a horrible singing voice, I can hit maybe two notes at best. Its still a lot of fun and luckily for me most of my friends are also bad singers so we are all equally torturing each other’s eardrums. This karaoke bar was a bit different from the ones in Hong Kong in that there were less microphones and a significantly smaller amount of English songs. Some of the songs they had in English were also sung as covers by Chinese artists so those sounded quite different. It was still enjoyable and I got introduced to popular Chinese music. Its quite similar to Cantopop in Hong Kong and bands such as the Backstreet Boys and American bands I’ve never even heard of who have a similar singing style.