Classes have begun and I've even gone to a couple (just kidding - no skipping here). Despite the hellish process that is adding and dropping classes, my schedule is awesome. I only have class Tues-Wed-Thurs. Four day weekend, every weekend! With my free time and even while racing to classes, I've discovered a few things about the area.
1. Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia
On my first Saturday here, Suri, from Finland, and I decided to go to Macau. She needed to activate her student visa, and I simply had nothing to do. The ferry ride from HK to Macau is about an hour long, complete with Abandon Ship instructions. We knew there was gambling but little did I know that is was ALL gambling. At this point in my life, I can't afford to gamble, so after wandering a bit we chose a fancy looking poolside bar to have a fancy looking poolside drink. It was swank. I most likely overpaid for the drink, but the atmosphere was worth it. Next time in Macau, perhaps I'll bite the bullet and bet a dollar.
|Our friendly poolside dragon.|
No class on Fridays = Beach Day. We took the metro, we took a bus. Then we walked 2k. No beach. Then we walked the 2k back. Got back on the bus. Got off the bus at the nearest civilized area and took a ferry. Beach! I get lost nearly everywhere I go, so I wasn't too concerned when the trip out took an hour longer than planned. The beach was gorgeous, and the water was warm. I did step on a barnacle and got a nasty cut, but I think the salt water cleaned it out....
|My first dip in the Pacific Ocean|
3. This campus is not wheelchair accessible.
Let me walk (pun intended) you through how I get from my dorm to the humanities building, where I have only one class (thank god). I take an elevator down 10 stories, then a different elevator up 4 stories. Walk a bit. Up 6 flights of stairs to central campus. Walk a bit. Walk up 8 flights of stairs to the humanities building, and lastly down a flight of stairs to the first floor where my classroom is. Math tells me I've only gained 6 stories worth of elevation, but my burning thighs tell math to stuff it.
|These stairs come complete with escalators, but none of the other walkways are that blessed.|
4. Check the language of the class before you go there.
I was understandably nervous for my first day. New country, new school, new classes. My very first class was in the theology building which is way on the other side campus. I passed the metro station, the pond, the track, and the meditation garden. Overall a very nice walk. After asking several people for directions, I found the classroom - only slightly late. Sheepishly, I entered the classroom and sat in the back. I hoped and prayed that the instructor wouldn't pull a Prof. Blake Whitten and draw an unnecessary amount of attention to the late and apologetic international student. But to my dismay the entire class stopped and stared at me. I stared fixedly at the syllabus. "Excuse me, Miss. Do you speak Cantonese?" Uh oh. "Uh, no, I don't. Is this class in Cantonese? I'm not even registered. My adviser told me to take this class. I thought I'd check it out. I'm sorry. I guess I'll just go. K. Thanks. Bye." Despite it being an honest mistake, I was embarrassed. I went home and checked the languages of my other classes, and even after triple checking, I was nervous each time I entered a new classroom. I think I'll start practicing my Cantonese.
5. Dim Sum is amazing.
The shrimp, the pork, the spring rolls, the dumplings. SESAME BALLS. The food here: Yum. Admittedly there is a distinct lack of fruits and vegetables (good luck being a vegetarian here), but I will definitely miss Dim Sum.