part151, sea food again


Friday, 25th, June, 2010. I
spent most of the late morning reading P G Wodehouse in our hot living room. I
was strewn across the sofa like a string of baking sea weed on a hot rock at
the beach, I had a towel under me to save from marking the sofa with my profuse
sweating. All the windows where open and on the odd heavenly occasion a breeze
would fly through the house showing me a little relief.

 

Later when I arrived at Shuang Dao School I
saw that a large portion of my students were waiting outside the classroom. I
saw the group muttering to its self furtively and as I approached they pushed
towards me the girl whose English was best and she informed me that another
teacher wanted to take my class “we want to say good bye to you because this is
our last lesson with you, we don’t want to have the other teachers lesson”,
said the wide eyed girl in a strange Australian and Chinese accent. I looked
into the classroom and indeed there was a teacher equipped with his microphone speaker
looking as if he was about to start the lesson.

 

Even before I contemplated telling the
teacher that he would have to phone my boss up and ask her if it was alright to
take my class but he just smiled and nodded at me and walked out of the class
room. As he did so all the students in the class erupted into joyous cheers at
the ousting of the unwelcome teacher. I checked the sudden positive feeling of
being popular and reminded myself that the class most probably just wanted to
have my lesson because I have been playing films every lesson for the last
month.

 

This lesson was no exception and we
finished off the film “nanny mcfee” a quirky children’s comedy and I had to
smile a bit at the end when the two main characters where about to get back
together when many of my students began to shout earnestly at the projector “
KISS HIM!!”, “KISS HER!!!”. When they did kiss another delighted cry went up.
By some chance the film credits began to roll up at exactly the same time the
bell rang and I left my junior class for the last time feeling it was a good
ending.

 

My second junior class was a different matter
altogether. The classroom in littered with thrown and left chairs, broken
desks, multi colored chalk ground into the tile floor and a thick atmosphere of
unrest more tangible than the insane heat. I entered this scene as a teacher
was ordering a student to do bunny hops around the teacher’s podium. The
teacher looked worn out and got out of the class as soon as the student got up
after his squats. I started the class as usual, with half the students missing
or going in or coming out of the classroom, the rest either reading magazines,
text books or sleeping. A few attentive students looking my way was all I was
given.

 

I used minimal effort and focused on the
four good students and left the rest to themselves until it all just got far
too noisy to even here the good students speaking. I ordered them all to stand
up and told them clearly that if they could all stop talking for one minute
then they were allowed to sit down.

 

 After 15 minutes of them all standing up and
being unable to be quiet for not even 15 seconds it dawned on me that maybe
they actually liked to stand up. I asked one of the especially loud and floppy
young men in the corner if he liked standing up. He told me to go and fuck my mother’s
cunt and sat down defiantly. I looked at the sullen wretch, in his dirty purple
t shirt and tight black jeans; he was one of the few students without a uniform
on. He looked at me with his ratty eyes and sneered. I calmly walked over to
him and pointed him outside; I grabbed his elbow and marched him with purpose
to the teacher’s office. The boy looked very scared as he entered the grownups
lair with his entire attitude evaporated. “waaaaaaaaaaa?” shouted one of the
male teachers as he saw me come in with the student. The teacher, a tall, wide ugly
man who I remember has a spitting problem, shot out of his seat and marched up
to the boy.

 

“Excuse me, what has he done?” he bellowed
at me.

 

He looked like an angry frog about to go to
war. I told him and the other teachers who had started to envelope around the
student and at each thing I told them they cried out and grabbed at the boy, threatening
him and giving him the odd clip around the head. At the end when I told the Mob
about what he said about my mother they became hysterical. “Leave this to us,
we will do it, I am so sorry for this”, Said the Frog teacher, his shoulders
looked square and he seemed like he was fully inflated. I left the boy to his gruesome
fate and went back to the class.

 

I reentered the classroom to find the rabble
of creatures had been replaced by a squad of stiff, hands by sides silent
soldiers, eyes fixed on the black board and attentive. “Does anyone else want
to go to the teacher’s office?” I shouted at them all. The minute of silence
passed quickly and then they sat down again and we had a lesson where everyone
acted like they were sitting on a very jumpy time bomb.

 

Later in the evening Sarah and I got a
crowded bus to the sea food area of Hai kuo. I was not so focused of finding
butterflies or large women on the bus today I was more worried about my smelly
t shirt I had put on by mistake. It smelt like mildew and something else I
cannot describe. Thankfully I had foreseen this unfortunate problem and had
packed a clean t shirt. We met Lindsay, Kyle and Adam at the sea food area. It’s
a huge market place selling all sorts of sea food and vegetables and other
animals, we even saw a sort of wild mongoose thingy in a mesh cage this time. It’s
all under a massive covered area. Around the market there are restaurants which
you take the sea food you have just brought and for a small price they cook
your chosen food. I think it’s a very good way to do you things. All the sea food
is alive so there isn’t much change of getting really sick. The only nuisance
is the restaurant pushers who forcibly follow you around and try and get you to
go to their restaurant.

 

 This
time Sarah was very strong and told anyone who approached her to stop following
her and go away. Kyle, Lindsay and myself generally hung back and just looked at
the swimming things in the polystyrene boxes while Sarah and Adam did all the bargaining
and buying. It really pays to have Chinese people to help you in these sorts of
situations. I would not have the faintest clue how much a crab would cost or a
shrimp or anything in this market.

 

We got bags of the stuff and while our
black wet bags jerked and twitched with life, we fought our way to a restaurant.
I was greatly looking forward to eating. We had crabs, deep sea fish, prawns, oysters,
clams, green vegetables, sour green chilies’, coconut pancakes and a few other
side dishes. It was exactly the right amount, we were all very full at the end
and not much food was wasted.

 

We were all just sitting back drinking and
digesting when an almighty crack and crash was heard behind us. We all looked
over at the other table behind me and saw a very large man being helped up by
his friends. He had broken one of the plastic chairs. He looked a bit serious
and maybe annoyed and then his crew walked off. I minute later a waitress
tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to double up my plastic chair as it was threatening
to give way as well.

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