<A>Summer in Ninghai

Written by Jul 17, 2006 06:07
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General rambling: Ninghai

I’m slowly getting over another food poisoning episode, my first in six months. I think this is due to my own compliancy, as I unrightly presumed after Chongqing I would be able to stomach anything Ningbo had on offer. But alas, I spent two days of acquainting myself with my hotel room porcelain bus.

My flight from Chongqing to Ningbo took about three hours and was painless with a quick transit stop some where in between. I arrived at my final destination of Ninghai after four days in Ningbo ; a speedy drive down the well maintained toll way to Ninghai gave me a glimpse of its out-lying vistas - not impressive enough to get into any finer detail.

Ninghai is several hours drive south of Shanghai. Maybe five hours or three days by electric bike – ‘...I wonder if any one has tried that?’ Anyway, Its a town based on goods manufacture and trade. I’m currently helping set-up a new English School here - nice pay/hours and people. The accommodation I’ve been placed in is Houtong like – self contained court yards in a maze of ally-ways. The general area has an almost run-down Gold Coast ambience with Chinese not Japanese flair (The Gold Coast is situated in southern Queensland, Australia for those who are not familiar) - it’s a very strange place is Ninghai, as is the Gold Coast. Although, I take solace in the ubiquitous tile clad surrounding which reminds me all to well I’m still within the realms of the PRC... Lots of electric bikes cruse the open flat streets; the bike lanes are filled with all manor of home made transportation machines - A gold mine of inventions. I even sighted a factory spec Yamaha R1 although such extravagance in this part of the world is rare. Helmet free riders cruses leisurely - mixing it with bigger motor vehicles, dogs, chickens and people in harmonious kayos. Unlike Chongqing the shops in abundance are very different. It took me half a day to find a chemist, and if it wasn’t for my home PC in my room, I would be stuck without internet access. From recollection, I’ve only sighted one small internet café in these here parts of town anyway. To draw comparisons however, clothes are everywhere. Children’s toys and sweets also seem to dominate the markets flourishing trading stalls, with street peddlers in abundance. And western high price Shopping stores filled with bored-mindless assistants betting on who will make the only sale for the month.

My New Home

I have a maid! THIS IS SO VERY ENOYING... Rather like having your mother trying to run after you and help with everything you do... Nevertheless, the people are very friendly and humbling so I’m doing my best to take on board customs for the time being anyway. The whole house hold situation is reminiscent of a Ming Dynasty court setting. I'm getting the drift that dinner and lunch time is a communal affair, as is my current bedroom, with the maid, and various women of the house wondering in and out at leisure. I was falsely under the impression this was in admiration of their new handsome western lodger. Until it was brought to my attention: I seem to possess the only ADSL connections this side of the yangtze/Jialing River - the power of the "New Pollution", every negative has it’s positive however and frequent visits from these beautiful enchanting women are almost shedding a halo of godly luminance around my bedroom terminal – I’m going to give it about two weeks before it really starts pissing me off...

The food is quite unpalatable. Grin and bare it... Today being my first living in the house; I was treated to lunch with a Russian woman who is also boarding here and teaches piano at the school, her interpreter, the maid, and her husband were also carefully watching over my consumption of the traditional Ninghai lunch. The Russian girl can speak no Chinese or English, and no one can speak English past body parts and ABC... My maid god-bless, speaks very little mandarin, saying this; I’m sure her conversational Ningbonese and Mahjong skills can cut it with the best of them. Her husband after lunch and several glasses of 60%vol rice wine managed to strangle a little bird (sparrow) to death in front of us in the living room, while trying to tie string to its leg. I’m not too sure of the final objective in this case - maybe it was for the cat... But I haven’t seen one. One never can tell. Currently, it’s swinging from the string motionless in our courtyard - will be interested to see if it lasts the night. God help me if its tomorrows dinner!

…So I’m going to be stuck in Ninghai with Chinese mandarin as my base language - should be lots of fun I enjoy this predicament immensely. Unlike the west, I’m constantly learning here. I need more oral practice in this case, so I’m looking forward to mixing it with the locals. The girls have expressed their willingness to entertain oral coaching and I have accepted graciously.

Again, the school has hired a beautiful college senior to act as my class PA (Eileen will be really impressed) – her English is reasonable, which is a plus. All the girls were dressed up to the nines for my arrival - Steven the Chinese owner had on shorts and a pair of thongs. Taking into account my last lesson in Chongqing, which included a pretty female university student wearing a boob-tube with “ I’m single and looking to get married!” written across her chest in English – I suspect no less ingenious grabs for attention from her Ninghai counterparts – but I will be restrained, and be totally professional as always. These reflections between the Chinese and western society constantly take my breath away. Here Girls wear their femininity with a smile, and it’s lovely.

Ask most Chinese girl what they want to do at 24 and they say get married. Ask a Chinese girl what they want to do at 25 and she will say have a baby. Ask a Chinese girl who will pay for it she will say my husband of cause...

The school is quite nice; it's a music academy; bright beautiful people; Traditional dance and instrument tuition with a relaxed atmosphere. I’m going to take up piano - I think. We have sorted out classes and levels, which leaves me with small and vastly different groups. My adult class currently consists of only three twenty something female seniors who would make any middle age western feminists cringe in their presence... My 3-5 year old classes are darling, I’m going to make best efforts to not scare them to death on our first lesson - Nevertheless, I will go prepared, with ball of string in hand, although, I fear the school court yard should be to small for a whole class hanging.

 More Ningbo Travel Reviews
Comments (2)


Jul 20, 2006 21:54 Reply


Nothing funnier than telling it how it is... Thanks LEMONCACTUS.


Jul 19, 2006 09:09 Reply


What a wicked sense of humour you have, but you did make me smile. I just love the sound of your school!!

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