Something fairly interesting went on Wednesday night.
But first, I appreciate everyone's comments, in fact I really enjoy reading everyone's comments, But I also especially like knowing who says what. The way these blogs work, I can either allow anonymous posts, or I can restrict so only registered users can leave comments, and I didn't want to do that because it's such a hassle and then no one would ever leave comments. And I know that at the time you leave your comment you think, "Well it should be pretty obvious to T.J. that this is me," and sometimes it is, but I've got a lot of friends and family apparent, so it's not always obvious. So as a favor to me, when you leave a comment as "anonymous" I'd ask that you put your name somewhere in the post. I love reading everyone's comments, so please leave 'em and leave more! Just let me know who said what. :)
Ok, back to Wednesday night, Oct 22.
Wednesday was Gwen Hoy's birthday. (Gwen is another American teacher in Huzhou, but at a different school.) So she invited everyone to a birthday dinner at 7. It was very nice, and afterward a few of us went to a bar for a couple drinks. It was fairly nice, had a live band, and since we were sitting too close, it was fairly loud. Anyways, afterward, I had to walk about 2 kilometers (that's 1.2 miles) back to my bicycle. Don't worry, I was NOT riding drunk. I had had about one drink at the dinner (dinner lasted from 7-9pm) and then maybe 1.5 drinks at the bar soon after we arrived at 9:30 and we left the bar at 10:45, so the each of them were completely processed by the time I arrived at my bike at 11:15.
So, I cycled my way back to campus, the guard opened the gate for me, and I rode the last kilometer back to my apartment, arriving at 11:45pm.
Now, the thing about my place is, it is in the same buildings as the student dorms, and the students have a curfew off 11pm. At 11pm, they lock the doors. Now, I have come home after 11 twice before tonight. Each of those occasions, I knocked on the door, and there is a woman posted just inside, and she would let me in. She can sleep, but since she is on-the-clock while at the school, she must be ready. (There are about 3 different women who do this and it's a different one each night.)
Now, normally there is a lock there, and they would give the foreign teachers living there a key. But apparently, the lock was not working right, so the door was chained shut from the inside. But it had been this way before, so I didn't worry at first.
So, I knocked lightly, waited a minute with no response. So then I knocked harder. Waited another minute. Then I tried knocking a little harder, still nothing.
About this time I noticed some flashlights walking toward my building along the path to my building. It was a couple of guards who worked there. As they came up, one of them asked me what was the problem. In Chinese of course.
Anyhow, I couldn't quite think how to say "I've knocked but she hasn't answered" but I certainly know enough to say 我住在这里 (Wo zhu zai zhe li, "I live here").
So then he and the other guy realized what was going on and they began just banging away at the door and yelling for the woman to come out. But still nothing. So they kept going at it even louder! It was quite a racquet and they went on for about 5 minutes, banging and yelling. Again, even if someone had the normal key to the building, it would do no good since the doors were chained shut from the inside, so she had to wake up and open it.
One of the guards tried to explain something to me, but I didn't understand, but then he explained it using some different words and I understood him. What he essentially said was that sleeping is not her job, this is her job. I'm not a student, I'm a teacher, so since the student curfew doesn't apply to me, she should be prepared to open the door if I arrive home after 11. He said something along the lines of, "if I just slept during my post, what good would that do?"(because he is a guard).
After several minutes of this loud noise, several students awoke. From the students I heard a lot of "Tian Na!", literally, "Heavens!" and from the guards to the students, a lot of "Bu hao yi si!", meaning "Very sorry." But the guards did ask one of the students to go down and wake the door woman. The student, a girl, did NOT seem too happy about this. But she did go down, woke her up, and she opened the door.
After that the guards left almost immediately and the woman at the door said nothing to me, but I've got a feeling she's not gonna like me too much anymore, haha.