Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wuhan, Pollution, One Month Left, etc.

Many people have gathered--friends, loved ones, family--to watch my blog fade off into obscurity.

I've neglected my posting duties recently. Every time I've sit down I find nothing to write about: no refreshing insights, no boring anecdotes, no complaining. I feel empty.

I think if I ever get my PHD, I will write my dissertation on the superiority of Mr. Goodbar over Krackel (Yea, my writer's block is that bad, but have you ever met anyone who preferred Krackel over Mr. Goodbar? I think not).

In college, our English teachers taught us that if you ever have writer's block, sit down and write anything and the problem will fix itself. This is what I am trying to do.

This past weekend I flew to Wuhan (the capitol of Hubei province, home of 12 million potential friends), to visit some old buds and just have a jim-dandy weekend. I loved every minute of it. My friend Lucy (who gets an shout out on the blog) took me to all the foreigner hot spots in the city for some Waigoren watching. I would like to challenge you to go to the nearest McDonald's, sit down, and every time a white person walks through the door say to yourself "Wow, did you just see that? A non-Asian just walked through the door!" And think about me, your beloved blog writer, who gets a high every time he sees a white person he doesn't recognize.

I ate western food too. I ate a real cheeseburger and had a real milkshake. A REAL MILKSHAKE! And then I went to the western supermarket and bought peanut butter and ritz crackers. PEANUT BUTTER AND RITZ CRACKERS!

Ok, I didn't go to Wuhan to see white people or eat food; I went to Wuhan to see friends. I consider the days I spent in Wuhan as some of the happiest days I will ever have in China, and I'd like to thank my friends for that. There is not much more I can write about the subject, because it's just hard to write right now.

However, I should feel thankful they didn't place me in Wuhan. In two days, I got a sinus infection from the devil-spawned pollution of the city. When I came back to Enshi, I brushed my teeth with a brand new toothbrush; the toothbrush turned a rust color the next day. I hacked up something on a towel (hey I was sick) and the next day that part of the towel turned the same rust color. I got friends in that city; they're breathing that crud every day. Not much I can do about it, but still. Horrid details like this keep me from buying an I (heart) China t-shirt. Horrid details like that make me cynical, bitter, and irritable about where I am right now. I realize most of the pollution originates from useless products that fuel the American capitalistic machine, but you think someone would have said "Maybe we shouldn't be doing this," ten or twenty years ago?

Twenty-eight days until I'm back in America. I can't wait. The time hasn't flown by. I'm not going to lie, it feels like a blooming eternity since I got here. I'm going to tell people that I spent five or six years in China one semester. Then those people will say "You saw the great wall right?" and I will say "No." Then those people will say "But you went to Shanghai right?" and then I will say "No." Then those people will say "But you had to go to Hong Kong?" And then I will say "No didn't do that either." And then they will say "So what did you do in China?" and I will say "I taught English in a town called Enshi; don't worry, nobody in China has heard of it either."

But at least the air is fresh!

"I'll see you in the morning if nothing happens."

P.S. It feels weird typing that knowing Mrs. Franklin has passed on.

P.S.S. What in the heck is happening to my country? I'm going to tell my students I'm going back to America to get shot. Since when is gun control a bad idea? I'm all about rights and everything, but this is getting out of hand.

7 comments:

Renae said...

Well, you know what they say...When all else fails... go shopping. I bet that would give you a lot to write about. I expect a Christmas present from China..

rjsturgeon said...

me to :)
I'm sure Hayley or Beth could suggest something . . .

Nita said...

me, too! Although I hate to mention shopping after the last PPS....

Dresden said...

Jonathan...I'm going to Wuhan in 7 weeks to stay for at least 9 days. Your account of the pollution is giving me second thoughts about going. I'm supposed to meet someone there, but they didn't say anything about how bad the air is. Did you ever find out what the rust colored stuff was?

Dresden said...

Sorry, I forgot to check the email follow-up comments to...if you have time, send me a note...

wondering nomad said...

Hello! My name is mike and I'm in grad school right now for international TESOL. I want to go to China in sept. when I'm done to teach English and am trying to settle on a city. I know this is going to sound strange but my biggest concern is pollution and air quality. I dont mind how big the city is, I just want to feel healthy and safe. Can you offer any advice? Seriously, anything you have to say would be a huge help. I'm just starting my research and any insight you have would be appreciated.

wondering nomad said...

Hello! My name is mike and I'm in grad school right now for international TESOL. I want to go to China in sept. when I'm done to teach English and am trying to settle on a city. I know this is going to sound strange but my biggest concern is pollution and air quality. I dont mind how big the city is, I just want to feel healthy and safe. Can you offer any advice? Seriously, anything you have to say would be a huge help. I'm just starting my research and any insight you have would be appreciated.