Welcome to Hangzhou at night. This video is a 360 degree view of the city next to the river at the convention center.
Charlie, Ye, and I had dinner inside the giant gold ball. It's a hotel much like the Luxor in Vegas, but round. It's hollow inside with a view up to the roof. The circles are all different floors with hotel rooms. At the floor below is a fancy restaurant. It's a giant buffet with all kinds of seafood and other stuff. I liked the lamb best of all, but I tried everything I could. Oysters, clams, snails, large intestine of a pig (no joke), star fish (again, no joke), and a dessert that was a lot like carrot cake.
Charlie attends one of the only schools in the area that is more expensive than the one I teach at. I believe there are two. He is Ye's pride and joy. He's the focus of just about everything that motivates Ye. I understand what it means to date a lady that has children. They don't seek a husband as much as they audition potential fathers. I have no allusions. Charlie speaks English very well. Just like my school it's the only language his teachers speak.
This is Charlie at his best...
In the Chinese culture people will say exactly what they're thinking way more often than we do in the states. For instance, why are you so fat? Or, you need new shoes. It's a weird contrast when you consider the concept of saving face. Amongst family they are brutally honest all the time. With a stranger or acquaintance the face saving notion is much more in play. Ye reminds Charlie often that he is overweight. I'm at around 104 kg at The moment. That's just a bill shy of 230 pounds. I was near 245 when I arrived here in China. Ye tells me I'm okay. I'm a big strong man, so that's okay. Hmm. I think there's some face being saved here. Anyway, we're getting to know each other. She's very cool. I appreciate her straight forward demeanor and always happy attitude. I like the Taoist approach to life. She's no Taoist, but I think that description fits her well.
So, are we "dating"? Sort of. Maybe? At a minimum I've made a good friend. We've enjoyed waking and talking together and we've shared some meals. I've been on a few other dates. They have pretty much been the same. Chinese women are very slow to build a relationship. I'm glad for that. Friends first, and then we'll see. She held my arm a bit while we walked next to the river tonight, but nothing else. It fits what I've read about dating a Chinese woman. I'm fascinated. Color me intrigued.
Here a bunch of other pics from today. Enjoy! And Mike, I'm working on taking better pictures. Your criticism is welcomed.