The China Journels

This is the second part of the China Journels. Thanks again to Jack and Elinor McNeil for sharing their experiences with Tumbler Ridge.

July – Wednesday – 27 days to go

Did not sleep well last night, saw someone walking around with a flash light at 12:50 am in the morning. H e ran behind a tree and turned off light when he saw me. This is the first time I have been a little afraid. I got a chair and put it against each door. We also can lock the dorm room doors. We asked the dorm master (Colonel Klink, aArt has nicknamed , he said security, Why did they shut off light when they saw me? The Chinese are good at pretending that they don?t hear or maybe its a misunderstanding on my part. I?m not sure. Breakfast – instant protein & coffee.

Lunch – tofu-yuk ,bean sprouts(good), and some more rice. We haven?t figured out what they do with the chicken breasts, Jack says they go to the Holiday Inn.

Saturday the girls want to go to the spa, Jerry & Dan will golf 6am, Dad & Art going to Jiako for Macdonalds and I want Dad to get a watch for the boys if he can. Did not hear from Shan, Jonathan, no message & Sharon sent email. Thanks Sharon.

Did laundry at 11:30 – 2:30pm break. Some sleep, read, & rest some more. Shirley, Art & Dad & I walked out of grounds and found a small lagoon. some Chinese (young) seemed to be living in a small dwelling there asked to take picture of us.

We bought some coke, creamsicles, & peanut brittle. Ice cream is not so good here, lots of peanuts in brittle, maybe can salvage a bit of nutrition. Juices are not pure juice. I will buy another watermelon so we can have fruit. We buy fruit cocktail cups each day, they are fruit in a gelatin. We have 2 cans of meat left & 2 noodle bowls so if we get tired of the cafeteria food we eat our own in the (fridge room).

We emailed the Canadian Embassy in China one week ago to let them know we are in the country. No reply yet. We also said about the four of us with only 30 day visas.

Had a real good day in class. Took flyers to class and sent the students on a shopping trip. It was very interesting on their choices. My Nicholas, (a lovely stinker) had toilet paper on his list. He teases a lot. So I said ? Nicholas ? Why would you be buying so much toilet paper? With a straight face he smiles & says, Oh! but I go to the toilet a lot. The class cracked up.

We got the CD player & I stayed overtime, till dinner, we played ?Back Street Boys? . I gave dance lessons again. Believe it, Believe it. the girls put their names in hat, each boy chose a girl to dance with, and I helped each couple. They may do this for next Fridays performance . Tried to email last night, too slow. Got a small journal away. Will read and go to bed.

Debbie you said you got a phone number from Jonathan , We have emailed many times and we have not gotten a reply about where the vehicles are in Vancouver, Where is the rest of our $150.00 per person. How are we going to get to Hong Kong when we are finished here on the 21st. China say they did not get any money from Canada.

Debbie you said you talked to Alf, the two boys are gone, Where did they go to, did they go back to TR? Has Alf & group received any of the $300 they deposited yet? He sounds excited about their sightseeing trip that they are going to go on and the fact that they are going to teach students next week. We heard from Rob McKay from TR that they were working 13 hour days handing out leaflets. What is this about?

July 29 China

We received email form Debbie today, Alfred in another part of China, she did not say where, no students but are working everyday, at what I do not know. Alfred has trouble using the computer. We forwarded emails to you and Debbie has no more info to share with us.

Breakfast in room today, cereal & fruit cup. Lunch very good.

Received two more 17 yr old girls for my class today. Seem nice, very smart. Evening meal good also. After class at 4;30 the kids wanted to learn ballroom dancing. They looked up waltz in the dictionary and wanted to learn. I played myself out.

After supper Shirley, Art, Jack & I and Dan & Chris took a walk to a village we found hidden beside this complex in the trees. Very China, poor but friendly & smiling people, greeted with many Ne Hows, they all seemed to have TV?s though. Dad took pictures of children.

Jack & Eleanor July 30

Friday – emailed home again, Tim in San Francisco. Debbie emailed back, Alfred excited. They are going on a sight seeing trip, their first. He says food good. Slept on boards the first night as it is a new school and they did not have mattresses yet. The headmaster cannot speak English. His daughter is to interpret but her English is not much better so they are having a hard time communicating. There is frustration as the school was very disorganized. Alf said boys are gone now, where we do not know, possibly back to TR. Friday has passed. Watched the TR movie Art brought with students this afternoon and they enjoyed it very much. After that we watched a basketball match, three of my students were playing. Very good players. Will go to Jiako tomorow & meet my last student Carson for lunch.


We are meeting Carson (our Chinese student) in Jiako for lunch at Macdonalds. We are going to give him our Canada book, the one we took with us to give to a Chinese family that we had hoped to visit. Had lunch said our goodbyes, as we said we may not see him again. He is taking internet classes and he will email us. After lunch we shopped a bit. Carson took Chris to buy a suitcase and backpacks. Jack & I got some CD?S $1.66 CAD Hope they work on our machines at home. We all went back to Macdonalds , had a drink, and rested for awhile. 3 PM now. Chris had her purse here. A tale will unfold now???

We walked across the square and went into a clothing shop. Chris decided to try on a blouse. Dad & I were on the sidewalk. I guess when she tried on a blouse, she hung her purse on a hook & put her blouse on it. Then she stepped behind the curtain to look in a mirror. There was one guy & two girls in the shop. We left and went browsing a bit farther. In another shop she found a shirt for Dan. When she went to pay her wallet inside her purse was gone. We ran back to the other We ran back to the other shop. The boy & two girls were there . Chris said she lost her wallet. They said no,no. She said keep the money and give me just the wallet & credit cards, as both their passports were in the same wallet.

I saw a security guard across the street in front of a jewelry store. He had been there when Jack & I were standing waiting for Chris as she tried on the blouse. I ran over & said we need to call police will you help? he said no way and turned around. We all went back to Macdonalds, the girl got us the manager, he spoke English. Three police came. They took us to the police station in a SUV. At Macdonald Shirley & Art had been waiting for us. They came with us to the station. We got the police to call the school as we had Mr. Wong?s cell number.

We answered many questions. Our Mandarin English dictionary came in handy. . After a long time Eddie, our new assistant, arrived to help us. They took Eddie, Jack & I back to the store in the police car. I saw the security guard across the street, I turned to Eddie & police to show them & he was gone from in front of the jewelry store. The shop did not have the same persons working there now. The police made one girl and we think it may have been her mother come to the police station. The other girl who was originally in the shop never did show up. The tall boy & some other young fellow arrived after a phone call. They talked to police. Not once was there any remorse, fear, or expression on their faces. When they left the station, (they were all laughing). After we got a file number ( three hours later) and some info for Dan & Chris to get new passports, I felt the time at the police station was just a formality. But we did need the reports to get the passport! Our four visas expire on Aug 9th. Now we can?t leave on Saturday as planned as Dan & Chris do not have passports or Visas.

Eddie says the school will take us to Guang Chzou on Tuesday to do this.

Eddie took us to Macdonalds for supper and then we took two cabs back to college.

Getting sick of Md and prem also. We talked with Dan in the dorm office as he had been golfing while we were in Jiako. Read, went to bed. tired. What a day?

August 1 – Sunday

Jonathan phoned from Canada today. Got up, lazed around. Oatmeal & fruit cup for breakfast. Had lunch here and when I came back to dorm I heard the phone ringing in the room they had given to us for an office, so I answered it. Jonathan was on the line. He had been on a three day business trip which turned out to be a nightmare for him, blew motor on his car , 100 km from Prince George, hitchhiked in 32 degree temp. etc etc. etc.

He advised us how to approach things here. Today a photographer arrived to take photos of us for a provincial pass that is needed if you stay in one residence for more than 48 hours in China. This pass is needed for the police I guess. Tomorrow we are going to Jiako in the afternoon for passport photos. Then to Guang Chouz Tuesdau for a passport for Dan & Chris and Visa extensions for Jack & I.

In the afternoon we went to the Hot Springs Spa real close to here beside the Holiday Inn. Had foot massages, cucumber facial, relaxation, entertainment; was heaven after all our excitement, a beautiful resort.

Had dinner at the Holiday Inn, yummy. The lady we have befriended at Holiday Inn ? Eva always comes to help us. We got a river view seat at the restaurant. Eva approached us, Jack & I, Dan & Chris, Shirley & Art, to come for the weekend to teach their staff English in exchange for a room, facility use, and meals. We have to think about this one.

We walked back to the college, was dark, but there were six of us and Art said he is a protector.

Monday Aug 2nd

At 11:30 – lunch break, as we were lining up to go into the cafeteria to eat, one of the assistants came and said? You must get your passports and show them to the police. We were ushered into the college board room and there were about eight policeman in the room; they photocopied our passports and had us fill out a small form. Apparently the college or company was supposed to let the police know that we were visiting (volunteering?) to speak ?conversational English? if we were here longer than 24 hours.

Lunch was not so good, we had coke, ,peanuts, ice cream bar, & digestive biscuits from the store at gate #2. We still have enough protein drink for about a week, and we are taking Vitamin & 3-6-9 oil capsules daily. How long can you survive on rice? All is well. so far, and everyone is very helpful , but we have not seen Mr. Wong today or yesterday. and I feel Ms. Lee from the company should have been here for our little boardroom excursion . Mrs. Chen from the College was in another room with some police. It would be interesting to have heard all the conversations.

We are having quite the experiences, and are thinking of renting a bus to go to Beijing Row Saturday and maybe some other adventure. We are having fun and laugh a lot saying ?Oh Lordy how we get ourselves in such predicaments at our AGES!!!!

We hear rumors from TR. Can you squelch any as you know from my journals that all is well,

Friday, August 06, 2004 7:08 AM

Subject: Mcneills

We are in Hong Kong, and are fine. We will leave here on Sunday for Canada.