Qinhuangdao is a quiet sea-side city with not much activity. There are no cultural events going on like concerts or plays, and unless there is a festival going on there is really not much to do. In the summer you can go to the beach, in the winter you stay inside.
This winter, my routine has been pretty simple. It was too cold to wander around the city so it was either stay inside or go to the gym.
Being inside so much, you need to find things to do to occupy your free time. The internet can occupy your time but only for so long. That left reading books and watching TB and movies. So far I have already read 14 books this year and I am working on my 15th. I have ready everything from adventure novels, to short stories, to works of fiction. Anything that has kept me interested for more than 5 pages I read.
I went through all the books I brought from home so I had my parents bring more when they came. I have finished those books as well and now I am borrowing books from the other teachers.
I have not only been filling my time with reading books but with watching TV as well. There are only two channels on TV that I watch here in China. One is China’s only English channel, CCTV 9. It broadcasts state sponsored news in English.
I also watch CCTV 5, China’s sports station. The commentators speak in Chinese and because of the time difference I never get American sports (unless I wake up super early, like I did for the super bowl). They mostly show badminton or volleyball matches, real exciting (catch the sarcasm?). So with a limited number of channels I can watch I mostly watch movies and as I am sure I have mentioned before China has no copy-write laws, so bootlegged movies are rampant here.
When I moved into my apartment there were already loads of movies sitting in the corner waiting to be watched. These were movies that had been bought, and left by previous teachers.
This was just the tip of the iceberg. The other teacher’s apartments had tons of movies as well. So I have steadily been working my way through their piles as well.
So there’s the secret to my sanity, books and movies, and occasionally the internet (wink-wink).