Starting off the 2nd week, we had a buddy day where we went out in small groups to spend a day at various attractions in Hangzhou. Coincidentally, I was grouped with all the chinese scholars in DATE. As a result, all of the conversations were in mainland Chinese which I struggled mainly due to the rapid machine gun fire rate of Chinese characters shot at me as well as the not so familiar Chinese accent. Well at least I got a rude awakening that I got to start brushing up on my Mandarin as soon as possible.
Did I mention that we went to Xi Hu (West Lake)? It is one of the main tourist attractions in Hangzhou. When we went, it was swarming with tourists, us included. It is what you would expect if you went to a Traditional Chinese garden. Plenty of ancient Chinese architecture, and many many Koi ponds. We rented a boat ride out into the middle of west lake where the local guide told us the folklore surrounding this beautiful place… in Chinese of course.
As we only had lessons on Thursday, I decided to scout out a nearby Muay Thai gym to try to lose the extra baggage I’ve gained just from feasting in the first week here. Plus I’m starting to feel my clothes getting tighter… (Not sure if laundry auntie made it shrink or I’m getting bigger). So a group of us 3 decided to take a bus there. After getting a little bit confused at the bus terminal, we managed to board the correct bus and be on our merry way. Or so I thought. As the bus was enroute to the first stop, the driver slammed the brakes. A driver and cut the bus off, trying to turn in from the middle lane, causing a large scrape on the car while the bus seems mainly undamaged. This seemed normal to the other commuters on the bus as they disembarked without a word. It was like a pretty shocking experience but luckily no one was hurt.
Meanwhile this accident caused us to run late and we decided to book a DiDi for the rest of the journey. When we reached the gym, we realised it was being run out of a hotel room by 2 active stadium fighters. We started the trial class and it was soon evident that my stamina was not where it once was as before the trip. Overall it was a great training and the coach were very good as they were able to point out and correct many of the fundamental issues that we have. I would love to train there but the cost of training was simply too expensive. Maybe running out of a hotel room isnt really cheap on the rent.
Fast forward to Thursday, we started our first lesson named Origami Robots. I kind of knew what it was based on the promotional material showed in SUTD on the televisions throughout school. Yet most of us were very lost during the lesson as it was conducted in Chinese! Conversational Chinese is one thing, but when the technical terms come up, I could not keep up. Furthermore I discovered I was grouped into Group A where the lessons will be conducted solely in Chinese. What a disaster. At least I could make out what the assignment was and our group worked late into the night completing it as a group of us had plans to go to Shanghai (an hour’s train ride away) over the weekend.
Tldr: Got to get good with Chinese