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Sunday, March 07, 2004

There are somedays which I think are a little odd then there are the days which I know are extremely strange, and today was definitely one of those days. Dragging myself out of bed this morning, I turned on my hot water heater then sent out a few e-mail and read the news. I showered and was dressing when I heard a ringing. I thought that it was the telephone as I told mom to give me a call, but no one was on the line. I heard it again, and it was my doorbell. I peaked out my eyehole to see who was there before opening the door. As I peered through the opening, I saw an older man in an Army Jacket. My first thoughts were oh my God, the Chinese Government has been reading my e-mails, and they are here to arrest me. I was slightly panicked, but I decided to let the gentlemen in. He told me that he was here to take me to meet his son. He said that his son knew Wilson the former English instructor at the University, and he wanted to practice his English with me if I would do so. Not knowing what to say, I simply agreed and finished dressing. I slipped on my shoes then went out to his motorcycle. He hopped on the I for on the back and held on for my life. I must say that if I thought that riding in a bus or taxi was scary this took the cake. There is noting like merging onto a busy street on the back of a motorcycle. We reached what I thought was his apartment, but he dropped me off at the gates and told me to wait. At this point, I was really confused and unsure what in the hell was going on. But a few minutes later, he reappeared and this time he was with another man. It was a drowsy looking westerner. The man which I thought was a soldier then shouted for a Taxi, and he motioned the two of us to get in. I hopped in the back, and we were on our way. At this point, I just did not know where I was going, so I leaned over to the gentleman and kindly asked him if he knew what we were doing. He said that we were on our way to socialize with this family. He said that little boy is this ten year old prodigy, and he wants to practice his English with us. I asked him if this type of thing occurred frequently, and he said that it is a normal phenomenon if you let it be. He said that people will hound you if you are not careful as they all want to learn English. I asked him what his name was and where he was from. He said that his name was Tai Bo, and he was from London. He said that he grew sick of the city, so he came to China to escape. At about that time, we arrived at an apartment complex and were ushered into the house. Inside, we were greeted by four Asian boys and two more adults that were in there twenties. I changed my shoes and put on a pair of slippers then went and sat on the sofa. In a few minutes the father arrived back with chips, pastries and Pepsi. A breakfast fir for kings. I talked with his son Michael who was 10 years old. He had taught himself to speak English, and he spoke as plainly as any Westerner with which I had ever spoken. We socialized for awhile then I went and played Ping Pong. I did fairly well then I played the boys father who used with two paddles and whipped my ass. At about this same time, two other men arrived with very large T.V. Cameras, and I franticly thought what in the hell is going. I went over to Tai Bo and asked him if he knew what was going on, and with a concerned look on his face, he simply said no. He looked very annoyed as he had been woken up from sleep. I asked the little boy what was happening, and he said that the local news station was there to interview him about his English speaking ability and his piano playing. The news men wanted to video tape us all carrying on a conversation. Feeling a little duped into being the pretty sideshow, I agreed to do it anyways. They took several tapes of us then they did some on just the boy playing the piano. They finished with this section then we were all told that we needed to go to the park. I did not understand why, but I agreed anyways. Ten people loaded into two cabs, and the father drove his motorcycle with two children on the back. We got to the park, and the father asked the camera men if
they would shoot his television ad for his new toys which he was marketing. Tai Bo and I were supposed to
be in these advertisements as well. I smiled and played along. The first toy was a light bouncy ball with string attached to it, and you are supposed to twirl it once thing launch it like a shotput as far as you could. We all did this, and they videotaped up playing. Then they did the boys as they did some neat Kung Fu exercises with them. I liked it a lot. The father then broke out the other toy which I enjoyed greatly. It was a slingshot/ ball/ parachute all in one. The top of the parachute was the top of the ball which the parachute fit into, and the bottom part of the ball acted as the weight. You wrap a string around the ball then twist it with another one. You then use the other sting to launch the ball into the air as as it is coming down the parachute pops out, and it glides for a long distance. One of them glided into the nearby river and was sadly lost under the ice. We played and made the commercials. The father is going
to make a lot of money off of these toys. We were playing with the prototypes. After we finished, the
father took us all out to eat. He rode on his motorcycle then six of us plus a Taxi driver squeezed into a car that is smaller than a tiny Honda. We arrived at a restaurant and had a wonderful meal. Lots of tofu, beans, and peanut dishes. We also had the all to famous Chinese Dumplings which were their national
dishes. They are pretty good, but I do not really care for the texture. I am not a dumpling fan, but I will
eat them if I am hungry. But if I have a choice, I will stick to noodles and rice. During dinner, we
played numerous rounds of paper, rock, and scissors which Tai Bo taught the children. Everyone played, and we must have had thirty or forty rounds. At the end of dinner, the father liked to sing which he did. He then asked me to sing, and I sand a few bars from Gillian Welch's Come to My Window Sill. He then asked if I knew the song Adelvase from the Sound of Music, and I said yes, so we finished our meal by singing a chorus of adelvase at the dinner table. At that time, he took me outside and said that he would take me home. I said goodbye to everyone then hoped on the back of his motorcycle, and he brought me home. I hoped off, and my excursion was at an end. I came inside and settled down then went out and looked around different stores to reflect on the day. It was strange, but I also suppose that it was good.

Christopher

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