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Our Foreign Correspondents Mike & Angie reporting from China

Mike & Angie... in sidecar not ChinaG’day folks! Not an awful lot to report really. We’ve obviously been here long enough to get ‘acclimatised’ as things that shocked us, disgusted us, made us feel sick, horrified us and generally couldn’t believe what we were seeing . . . we now take for granted as a regular daily occurrence!

Blimey, we’re going to have a hell of a culture shock when we get back to Oz! It’s going to take us a while to get used to you Westerners’ strange ways again. In fact, we went out to a ‘western’ style restaurant recently where we had a choice of chopsticks or knife and fork; we both instinctively reached for the chopsticks!

We went to another wedding on Saturday evening; been to more weddings here in six months than the last six years in Oz. One of our local eateries has closed and been boarded up with some signs in Chinese characters plastered on the doors. We can’t read what they say but it’s probably been closed because of some hygiene malpractice/SARS/chicken flu or, more likely, the owner didn’t pay enough bribes to the officials.

But the good news is that just a short distance further up the street we found another ‘hole in the wall’ masquerading as an eatery which we tried and, low and behold, we can get steak (?) and eggs there. In addition to this delightful delicacy, they also do a ‘version’ of chips! Wonderful! All for the grand sum of 10 yuan which equals $2. . . oh the expense!

There is a huge market here in pirated DVD’s and we have gone mad buying stacks of movies at about $1.80 each. Trouble is, we now have to buy a DVD player when we get home! Our contracts here end in July so it is ‘hiring time’ for all the colleges and universities throughout China. The Uni here where we are working has asked us to renew our contract at an increased salary but we’ve also received heaps of offers from elsewhere in China and ‘other parts of the world’ offering great deals if we sign up with them.

From the far, far North-West of China bordering with Kazakhstan and Mongolia we’ve had a great offer . . . now that would be interesting! But . . . the most interesting of all is a job on offer from the American Arab University in Jenin on the West Bank in Palestine.

Now if we really wanted to live dangerously we could consider that one; there would indeed be other things to worry about besides the boring old SARS and chicken flu! Seriously though folks we haven’t decided what we’ll do for our next adventurous sojourn. Mike has had two days off work and is now recovering from a heavy cold which he has now passed on to Angela who is cheesed off with all these 18 - 25 year old nubile wenches (his students) continuously phoning to see how he is and bringing medicine, fruit etc and giving Angela advice on how to look after him!

She fears he will never leave this country! The Dean of Foreign Language Dept and his secretary visited him today bearing apples and grapes and reassuring him, he was missed by all and that he is considered a great teacher. Probably the true reason for the Dean’s visit was to make sure Mike was still alive as it is ‘bad form’ to have a foreign teacher die on the premises! Look after yourselves and have fun 'cause we are! Cheers.

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