For 3 days, Chengdu night life has picked up as shoppers and restaurant patrons fill the evenings coming and going. Nothing like a 3-day holiday to increase consumerism and lift everyone’s spirits.
For myself, it’s been a farewell weekend.
After living here for almost 9 months, it’s time for my departure and return to Luzhou where I’ll be starting up teaching after the summer.
Although I rented a single room for almost the whole year, it seems I accumulated a great deal of stuff. I have 3 boxes of clothes and 2 suitcases which will be loaded into a car tomorrow for the 3 1/2 hour trip back.
How did that happen?!
Good-Bye to My Dog Walking Partners
This afternoon, it will be saying goodbye to many of my animal friends on campus.
My two favorites are 57-year-old Ms. Zhao and Mao Dou (Hairy Bean), her poodle, as well as 26-year-old Sha-sha and Hua-hua (Flower), her half-corgi mix. We have been meeting up every day at 3 p.m. to enjoy watching the doggies play while chit-chatting. Joining us has also been Frank (Gao Pei), a Sichuan University student whom I mentioned before. Both he and Sha-sha enjoy practicing their English while Ms. Zhao and I work on my pitiful Chinese.
(Yes, even after a year’s classes, my language skills are still in need of work!)
As a gift to the three for their friendship, I put together 3 different photo albums of pictures I’ve taken during the year of all our dog- walking outings. We have about 7 other pet owners who are regulars as well so their photos are all included.
Everyone will be remembered and have memories to share during our campus meet ups. That is one thing I am definitely going to miss. (Here are a select few photos in the albums.)
Meng Zhui Wan Swimming Complex：New Policy Makes Summer Recreation Safer
As for my friends at the pool, my early 7 a.m. arrival for my Saturday work-out had me telling the staff good-bye until most likely October, National Day, when I’ll return for our 1-week holiday.
One thing I praised them on was the recent pool policy, which started on April 21st, concerning deep water swimming.
Last year, a tragedy struck when a little boy drowned in the outside pool during a swim meet. I’m not sure what happened. Rumors I heard were that there were so many kids running everywhere, and adults busy with competition watching, that he just fell in where the separate diving pool is (15 feet deep) and no one saw him until it was too late.
The entire complex was criticized by Chengdu city officials and managers had to pay compensation to the parents, 400,000 yuan ($66,666).
This is one reason why there is no longer a diving well at the outdoor pool. The platforms and boards were removed and the area made into a shallow training pool for beginners.
It is also the reason why everyone who swims in the deeper pools, of which there are three, now has to take a swimming test to receive a deep water swimming card.
Flyers, announcements, park postings and even several TV news stations have been informing the public about this for over a month. With May 1st being the official opening of the outdoor swimming pools for summer swimmers, the pool officials wanted to make sure everyone knew about it beforehand so people wouldn’t make a stink when they arrived, only to be told they couldn’t swim unless their deep water testing card was in hand.
Exam times have been on-going since April 21st, usually twice a day in 2-hour blocks. We were required to bring a photo for the card, then had to swim 100 meters without stopping and tread water for 30 seconds. The lifeguards designated as our testers watched and timed us. After that, we went to have our wallet-sized, photo IDed certificates signed and laminated.
The entire process took about 5 minutes. I did my test on the first day to get it over with. Most everyone was laughing a bit because they know I can swim extremely well and thought it rather silly for me to participate as well.
Despite my fame as a swimmer, I was very proud not to be given any special treatment. I jumped right in along with my Chinese pool mates to take my test as mandated.
Needless to say, I completed the requirements and received my deep water swimming card, which I carry with me everywhere.
Just to let you all know I may or may not have Net capability in my Luzhou apartment when I return tomorrow. I canceled my service 4 months ago so I wouldn’t be paying for something I wasn’t using.
If there is time, I will do my best to reinstate that but, if not, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your week until blogs from the States update you on my latest adventures.