I don’t know where the school is, so Sammy asks me to meet him at the bar known as Bad Monkey. See, due to the Monkey’s central location and its popularity, after five minutes in Dali any Westerner who’s not allergic to beer knows its location, often before finding one’s own lodging.
After twenty minutes at the Monkey I’m tempted to order a Tsingtao, but I figure that’s probably not the best thing to do before a job interview. Instead I call Sammy. He says to have breakfast and he’ll send someone over to fetch me. A teacher from the school meets me at the Monkey as I finish my eggs and escorts me to the school’s Dali branch.
To demonstrate my skill and bravery, my first trial is to set foot into a classroom of twenty children with zero preparation and lead a lesson. I’m a little nervous beforehand, having no idea what age group to expect or what we’ll be reviewing. Also, I suspect that not speaking a word of Chinese could present its challenges.
Fortunately, the teacher hands me a book that all the students have, complete with illustrations and Chinese translations. And she’s there to translate instructions. The lesson goes well, although I don’t know if that’s because I have three years experience teaching this age group, or by virtue of the fact I speak English. I’d guess the latter.
My next mission is locate the school’s driver at the intersection of Renmin Lu and Bo Ai. There I will find a red car with the school’s driver, who will take me to the main campus in Xiaguan to meet with Sammy himself.
At said intersection I hop into the red car at the insistence of the harried driver, but it soon becomes apparent that either he has not been told who I am and where I’m going, or this is not the school’s driver.
I hop out of the pseudo-red car and into the real one, conveniently chauffeured by a driver who knows where I’m going. At the main campus I meet Sammy and give him copies of my resume, diploma and TESOL certificate. There I repeat my amazing feat of speaking English to a class of well-mannered children. Sammy seems impressed enough and says they’ll call me shortly.
Several days pass. I thought I’d done well, so I’m disappointed not to receive a call. Finally I bite the bullet and call back, only to find my phone card has run out of funds, evidently right after my interview.
China Mobile routinely sends me reams of text messages, but they’re in Chinese and it’s difficult to determine if they’re trying to sell me something or telling me I’m out of money. After refueling my account, I get in touch with Sammy who says they’ve been trying to contact me all week and asks when I can start.