After a long week of teaching, I spent this weekend exploring the awesome “hood” of my American neighbors in Yangzhou, who are also teachers here at Shuren. Bill and Diane are wonderful people and artists who always taught in the US and started teaching just for summers in China and now they teach in China full-time and teach in the US in summers! It’s crazy how addicting this place can be. When I arrived in town yesterday morning I checked into my beautiful hotel room (which was only 80 RMB aka 13 USD!) right in the middle of downtown and we went swimming (and I went sauna-ing) at a private pool/spa/sauna/everything at the 5 star hotel I frequented as a part of the mayor’s delegation (not the hotel we were staying at, mind you. That hotel is well over 150 USD per night.) It was very relaxing! I then sat in on a tutoring lesson at a local café (THEY HAD SOFAS INSTEAD OF BOOTHS) and afterwards had a great time exploring Old Town and shopping for gifts for my family and friends. I even met some other girls my age who are teaching at a nearby university and some German students studying abroad. Bill and Diane and I walked all day long in the beautiful sunshine and made it all the way outside the city gates and viewed the breathtaking canal for which Yangzhou is famous. We ended our pleasant day with an upscale meal at Pizza Hut, which is a high-end restaurant in China complete with hosts/hostesses, servers, and fantastic desserts. (See menu!) We visited for hours there and finally retired back to our hotel for the night. They had another tutoring lesson today which was more private so I kept busy by going to the outdoor market and purchasing two small turtles (they’re SO cute!) which are now in my apartment keeping me company. We also took a short trip to the mall where we went to the bakery and enjoyed some treats. Bill and Diane were very kind to let me invade their weekly excursion and I daresay I’ll be going again. Well, my presence was just requested by my ever-so-kind neighbors to share a home-cooked meal with them so off I go! Enjoy that menu now, and try to get Pizza Hut in the US to follow suit!