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Greetings from “the End of the Earth”!

We did better last night - we managed to stay up till 8:40 p.m. and didn't get up till 4:30 a.m. We figure that if we can keep shifting the times an hour a day, we should be pretty well adjusted soon.

We were met at the airport by two men from the university who drove us to our apartment. I'll try to describe our little apartment for you. It's on the second floor of a building on campus in which foreign faculty are housed. In the apartment immediately above ours is our friend Ruth. Upon entering the door of our apartment, you're in our living room. This room contains a low buffet on which sit the drinking water dispenser (drinking water? Yes, tap water is not safe for drinking) and the TV. There's also a fridge with a freezer in the one corner and a matching wooden chair, love seat, and coffee table. The bedroom is off the living room. It contains a wardrobe with several drawers (the wardrobe easily holds the clothes we brought in our luggage, all of which made it here on our flight - Ruth reminds us we had lots of "ground support"), a vanity with a mirror, a small night stand, and the bed. Ruth strongly urged us to bring an eggshell mattress, and we're soooo glad we did! She also purchased for us a mosquito netting "pup tent" to go over our bed, which we're soooo glad she did! After crawling into the tent last night and killing the two mosquitos who had gotten into it earlier, we slept bug-free all night. We were thankful too for a bedroom with AC. When I walked out into the living room this morning, my glasses actually fogged up! Believe me, it's humid here! 😎

We share the apartment with a number of mosquitos, and we cannot imagine how many mosquitos we'd have if the windows didn't have screens! Fortunately we also share the apartment with some little lizards - hope they eat mosquitos! 😛 < -- tongue sticking out.... On to the dining room... that's where I'm writing this update. The computer in the dining room has Windows XP (in Chinese! - this has made things interesting). There's a large hutch in which we've stored our teaching materials, a wooden table and chairs. At the end of the apartment where the plumbing is located are the kitchen, bathroom, and a little space with a washing machine and a shelf above it with a microwave. The kitchen is tiny, but in the wall there's a little cupboard with screen doors. Under the window there's a gas hot plate with two burners, and the sink and counter area are quite small. The "sink" is actually like a box with no lid, sunken down in the counter, completely made of tile, with a faucet and a drain. The bathroom consists of a western-style toilet (not the Turkish kind like we used at the restaurant yesterday), a shower hose, and a drain in the corner. You just stand in the corner and get yourself wet first, turn off the water, soap up, and then rinse off. Our first "shower" last night felt so good after the heat of the day! The washing machine is just outside the bathroom door, and the drainage pipe for it is interesting - it goes through the wall into the bathroom and drains onto the floor. The floor has enough of a slope that the water must all flow to the drain in the corner (see shower info above). We've not done any laundry yet, but with this arrangement, it seems as if we won't have to mop the bathroom. That could be a real time saver! Off of the dining room is a small balcony. Beside our building are coconut trees with coconuts on them. Pretty cool, huh?! (see picture below)

the coconuts growing beside our balcony

Today (Friday) we're scheduled to have lunch with the couple from Lyon, France who have been teaching French here this past school year. Then tonight we're having dinner with the dean and other dignitaries at the university. Breakfast this morning was yogurt, banana and some sort of Asian melon (tasted like something between watermelon and cantaloupe), and grits. (You can take the boy out of the South, but....) We brought them with us since we were pretty sure they weren't local fare.

Well, this update has gone long, but I thought it would fill you in on how things look from half way around the world. We know we're in the thoughts of many.

Below are several pictures from our apartment (worth a thousand words)

our kitchen and sink...

our kitchen counter and sink

the inside of the sink (sunk?)...

ever get that sinking feeling?

our bed, complete with mosquito netting...

our bed, complete with mosquito netting

Getting Oriented

We have arrived at our final destination and are getting settled into the apartment we will occupy for the next three weeks.

We both hope we sleep better tonight than we did last night! We both woke up at 2 a.m., unable to sleep another moment. So we got up and read and prepared for our early morning flight to the island. It was raining in Hong Kong when we left, but we were greeted by hot (and I do mean hot!) sunshine here. All our luggage came through, and we were greeted at the airport just as the dean had promised.

I have disabled the comments feature on my blog because of administrative security issues. I'm sure that those who check the blog won't mind too badly. 😎

Well, back to unpacking....

Safely Arrived in Asia

This will be an extremely short since I'm about braindead. Just wanted to let you know we're in Hong Kong safe and sound after an extremely long, but uneventful flight. I had a window seat and saw some great things from the air - Hudson Bay, the iced over Arctic Ocean with large cracks in the ice, and Siberia!

The airport here is beautiful and so clean! When we arrived at our hotel near the airport we were told that we were given a free upgrade to the Regal Club floor - 11th floor with a great view of the South China Sea. I think our Father surely had something to do with this. We saw such a gorgeous sunset this evening! One of the perks with the upgrade is free internet in the Regal Club lounge, hence a blog update.

We have an early morning flight tomorrow to the island that will be our home for the next three and a half weeks. More updates to come....

Preparations Continue

As our work week has come to an end, we will spend the bulk of the weekend packing and preparing for our departure. Tomorrow my wife and I will begin the doses of coumadin our doctor prescribed to help prevent blood clots during our 15.5 hour flight. It's interesting that this component of rat poison in small doses will thin the blood.

We're really looking forward to meeting our students at the university where we'll be teaching and to getting to know people there. We have heard from many how graciously guests are received there. I checked the weather online today and learned that, if for no other reason, our welcome will be warm. The day of our arrival on the island the temp will rise to 96 F with thunderstorms.

This coming Monday, as always, our celebration of the 4th of July will include celebrating my wife's birthday.

Strangers in Paradise?

I thought you might like to see several images of where we'll be in July. The first one shows some local scenery.

picture of the tropics

We'll be teaching at a university - my wife will be teaching Interior Decorating and I will be teaching French culture.

picture of one of the university buildings

More Asian posts to come....