As we’ve mentioned before (I think), we’re currently teaching in China. Specifically, we’re in the small town of Dagang which is close to the larger city of Zhenjiang. Even more specifically, we’re on the outskirts of the small town of Dagang. In Calgarian terms, this is like being in the outskirts of Airdrie.
Most of the apartments in the area are grouped into complexes of apartments. Ours has a gated entrance and a guard, which is kind of cool. Although I do wonder how strict or safe it actually is since he just waves people through regardless. It’s probably a veiled sense of security.
A few not as good things is how narrow the streets are within the complex such that cars can’t pass by each other. There’s also not that many lights in the evening, so it can be quite dangerous. FUNdangerous. Or just dangerous.
Across our apartment complex is another set of apartment complexes. Another ‘set’ is an understatement though. This is a whole block of apartments, multiple rows deep. Wrapping around all the sides (except for the side in the picture) are stores and shops. We call this place ‘Fireworks Deathtrap’ because of the fireworks that we keep hearing from there. Although the more truthful statement is that there’s just fireworks going off all the time. I suppose there is something to celebrate every day; like living! =D.
The exterior of Fireworks Deathtrap probably isn’t as nice, but within the apartments (where a large majority of our coworkers live) are quite excellent. One thing that I’ve really appreciated is the sense of community in these areas. When we’re walking through, there’s often elders and parents sitting around, chatting, keeping themselves busy, looking after children. It can be quite lively, in a quiet (fireworks-filled) neighbourhood sense.
There’s plenty of shops down the main street here. Noodles, food, bakeries, small goods, butchers, electronics, and whatever else. Early morning there will be vendors selling breakfast victuals. Later in the afternoon, there will be vendors selling freshly harvested fruit and vegetables, dinner food, and there’s even an open air market for even more fresh produce. It’s all fun and games until you have to drive down the street where people and vehicles criss-cross like a word-search.
Alongside the whole ‘we’re in the outskirts’ thing, there are farms surrounding the area. On our drive to school, we’ll go past a field where animals often graze. It’s quite peaceful, especially when contrasted with the amusement park on the other side (I didn’t manage to get a good shot of this).
Of course, our school is also in the area. Notice the tuktuk on the left! They’re quite convenient (and cheap) as a form of transportation, especially when we didn’t have our own vehicle. I’m curious who puts them all together since they feel like engines with a metal box wrapped around it.
THIS IS WHERE WE’RE LIVING CURRENTLY.
China is definitely quite different than what we thought it’d be.