|Well to break up a nine hour long day of bus travel we had a four hour layover in the very nondescript town of Luchun (sorry, not even on the map!). We basically walked up and down the same street as the bus station until we found a restaurant. Brad was seated eating his noodles as I traipsed across the street to order myself a Coca-Cola (getting a bit tired of hot green tea!) Before I could even pay for my Coke there was a woman standing next to me saying, "Hello. Do you speak English? Can I speak English with you?" She appeared out of no where so quickly it startled me. After I paid she crossed the street with me explaining all the while that she teaches English at a primary school and would I come speak to the class because they had never seen or heard a real live native English speaking person. I pointed to Brad sitting eating his noodles and told her that we would come find them on the playground (which I could now see was only half a block from the restaurant - from there she noticed me!) after we finished our lunch. She agreed and pointed to where to meet her. Only half way between my meal, she appeared again at the restaurant, with the class in tow! Twenty 10 year olds entered the restaurant and shouted HELLO!! It was hilarious! Again, I told the teacher that we would join her after we finished eating so the restaurant brought her a chair and she sat outside on the sidewalk blocking the exit (lest we should try to escape) and the students goofed off enjoying their break in their studies.
Soon we were led to the classroom where these students took their seats and the lessons began. Their English was quite good, or at least they parroted pretty well. Brad reviewed the fruit chart which was funny because they had the English words for Lychee, persimmon, kumquat, and hami melon -fruits we don't really have in America. Blossom, the teacher, asked me to sing a song and before long I had all 20 kids singing "I'm a Little Teapot" hand motions and all! I thought it was a good song for them since they drink so much tea here! Finally we showed them all on our world map where we were from and they loved seeing how far it was from China.
This four hour layover proved to be one of our most unexpected and delightful moments in China. We certainly got a kick out of those little kids and I'm sure they got an even bigger kick about having the only gringos in town in their classroom!!
Running tally of Chinese who speak passable English: 4
Running tally of other Westerners: 4