Day 15


After sleeping in, so my meals last longer, and drinking some orange juice... thing, with some milk, I've taken a quick survey of the financial resources I have access to. I have 375 from the bank, 26 I had on my person, and 9 dollars, with converts to 68 yuan. This translates to almost 11 days worth of food, so, starting today, I'd have until the 12th of Wednesday to get things sorted out, and if I get creative, I can extend it past that without sacrificing myself in any manner (don't worry kids). Since it is Sunday today, there is nothing I can do except... Well, hang about, investigate how I can get an internet connection, eat, study, fix my room, do laundry, and see if I can manage to speak enough Mandarin to open an account or access my current one.

Ah, and I hope that whomever got my card did not have access to my account while the card was in there. *smacks forehead* Oh well, at most I'll lose *calculates* 211.


2:00 P.M.

So, I've returned. And I've done not much at all.

I ate breakfast, then resolved to go to student building 4 to resolve the whole "internet" issue. I walked towards it, then noticed there was a path leading beyond the entrance of building 4. It split in twain, one leading behind building 4 and ended at the south gate. I did not explore that avenue, since a glance in that direction told me everything about that route.

Instead, I went to the left, where there was an abundance of overgrowth and...


To my great surprise, there are shanties within the university itself. Shanties, with tin roofs and walls, with sadness in every hastily placed brick and plank, and broken roads. There were three in a row, hidden by the plants. I did not poke around, for I thought the residents surely wouldn't appreciate a foreigner poking around. I walked on, with plants and a brick wall to my right and the looming dormitories to my left.

I was greeted with random shanties on my left every so often, smaller than my dormitory room, with a bicycle outside on occasion, the doors ajar as often as not, and a few with windows. The smallest of them was composed entirely of tin, had no windows, and could not have been larger than my bathroom. Looking now, I'd say it was shorter and a tad smaller, perhaps 4 feet, by 3 feet, by 6 feet. I... Thinking about it, I don't know how someone sleeps in it. Perhaps they are rather small?

Every so often, the path would split again, and lead into places I did not know existed. I decided I'd return to see those places as soon as I reached the end of the path.

I did reach the end of the path. For a second, I thought the path had led me into a closed off section of the university that lay behind gates. I'd never seen it unlocked, and adults constantly walked in and out of there. A professor spotted me walking out of the alley, and I shot him a look. It said "What's so strange about a well-dressed young foreigner walking out an alley?" He and I stared for a few seconds, then he proceeded walking. As I stepped out of the alley, I realized it led right to the entrance of the area, not the area itself.

I was slightly disappointed, until I realized the gate was open. I strode inside, and explored the area fully. It was the press building for the university, as well as the building where they developed the textbooks. They had a small fountain/pool/garden in the area, along with several large trees, finished with a series of small brick buildings lining the wall of the university. I could not tell if they were residential buildings or if they served another unknown purpose. One had a plaque which read "Learn Chinese" in Chinese, but I could not read the rest.

As I went further into the area, I encountered a gate, finely wrought, black, with a design you'd expect to see in a fairy tale. What seemed to be plastic of some sort hung on the other side in pieces and tatters, large though. The gate gave the appearance of having been complimented with green glass at one point, but the glass had been broken into large pieces at one point, and I was gazing at the remnants. Beyond the gate, to complete the fairy tale setting, was what looked to be a field of flowers. In reality, they were flowers waiting to be planted. They lay in a driveway, surrounded by trees festooned with birds, as a cat tiptoed amongst the flowers. The woodpeckers, among others, caught sight of the cat and flew, as the cat gave chase. I considered clambering over the gate, until I realized where I was looking. It was a small section off to the side of the -main- entrance to the university, which had been under construction and shielded from prying eyes for quite a while. No wonder I did not recognize it. I plan to return to the area from the other side of the gate.

I exited the gated area and returned to the backroads of the university, now going into the branching paths, not entirely sure I should have been there in the first place. I discovered what looked like small housing communities. For the maids, or for others, I do not know. I know they were not for students. I found dormitory 3, which was hidden behind dormitory 2. No wonder I never found it in previous expeditions.

I finally left the back roads, and returned to the main road with the firm intention of going to dormitory 4. As I walked there, I met with Lukas, the Swedish man I had guided earlier. He told me he was going to the market to purchase foodstuffs and the like. After telling me he was going out of campus and a considerable distance from it, I offered to guide him to the on campus market. It was on the way to my dormitory, anyhow.

While there, I purchased a few necessities, not all of them, and parted ways with him after translating a bit for him and showing him around the market.

I spent quite a bit, losing about a day's worth of food. However, I'll need teeth to eat with, and I don't want to smell like a baboon, so I had to do it.

Now, I -swear- I'm going to go dormitory 4 to get the internet situation resolved, and go do some laundry. I -swear.-

3:28 P.M.

Well, I did indeed go to building 4, and explored the first 4 floors and the 10th floor throughly. It is such a nice building. The rooms looked large and orderly, the furniture looked recently made, and the 10th floor was a sight to behold. Carpeted in red flecked with black, the hallway was filled with shafts of sunlight, further illuminated by a soft blue glow that emanated from the ceiling. The doors were wood paneled with two vertical strips of steel decorating it, placed off center. The doors did not require keys, but instead used a card system to unlock them. There was a large patio beyond the translucent curtains. I was unable to go out, but even with the patio blocking my view, a great deal of the university was visible as a field of green.

I lingered a bit, aching to know the inside of these rooms. The floor plans indicated that they were larger. Even without the floor plans, the number of doors was a giveaway; there were 20 doors in all, where as previous floors had perhaps 30 or 40.

As I went to the first floor via elevator (went up 10 flights of stairs to reach the 10th floor) I looked down, and noticed that they changed the carpet in it every day. How did I know? It said "Welcome! Sunday" in Chinese. And it is indeed Sunday. Craziness.

Satisfied with the fact that the Housing Office was no where to be found here, I left. I read the guide they had given to me when I registered, and saw that it said the office was in dormitory 2, not 4. I walked over to that dormitory was about to enter when the guard spotted me.


I quickly told me that the office was in dormitory 4. Ok. Perhaps I missed it. I had heard it was in floor four.

I returned, and it did not appear. Perhaps I need to find the correct spot, pace in front of it 3 times, and think "Housing Office" ? Could it be in the small building attached to the side of dormitory 4? I had gone 4 steps into the place, and could go no further. The stench of sewage was much too strong. Maybe there is a fourth floor to the place? I'll return. Again.

After exiting, I went to do laundry. I found the place closed, but the price was reasonable. 15 yuan in all, per basket, to wash and dry. I waited all of 5 minutes when the lady in charge showed up. She smiled and said "si shi wu kuai" which translates to 45 yuan. I laughed to myself. "I must be hearing things. The sign at the front -clearly- states a total of 15 per basket. I need to practice more." Pulled out 15 yuan, and she looked at my quizzically, as if I had just yelled out "Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious!" I ask tentatively "shi wu kuai" which is 15 yuan. She laughed and repeated the earlier number. To make herself clear, she typed out 45 on a calculator. I sighed, laughed along with her, and promised to pay her. She took 5 as a deposit and told me to return at 5. Then she pointed at the sign which I had interpreted as the amount due.