Well finally found a computer with reasonable internet access and thought I’d send you a couple of ‘special’ things that I’d been saving for you…
Trawling through the 64 television stations I caught the tail end of the 1/2 hour weekly foreign language program on Beijing TV… and enjoyed the following tidbits:
”… In fighting for peace china has always been the greatest … “
”… In the past men ruled all things outside the home while women managed home affairs … today we believe that women ‘hold up half the sky’ … Now lets see what the foreign diplomats wives are up to … they are busy preparing delicacies for sale (a cake stall) … showing both their graceful beauty and talent… “
And in the Foreign Language Bookshop
In a delightful book called: ‘Modern English’ the following phonetic pronunciations:
(needless to say they were learning american not english)
The american in the pharmacy … approaches the counter with a brightly coloured packet of tablets he has selected from the shelves…
“hello I’m looking for something for a cough… “cough” “cough” “cough” …. as he pushes the packet across the counter… Oh, not these?… Oh, they are for birth control…”
And ……… watch out for the next Chinese product to hit the market – launched at the Guangzhou trade fair – stackable fruit grown within square moulds (oranges, grapefruits, gourds, melons each beautifully embossed with the Chinese characters for ‘love’ ………. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
and two of my more personal experiences…
Each night walking home in Beijing I’ve passed a blind man with a child on the street playing a bamboo whistle …. on my last night i sat down and washed the childs hands and face then gave him a warm bread roll (whole wheat) … while his father launched into the only english song he knew … happy birthday to you
and last night while i was having dinner in Datong, Shanxi Province (the largest open cut coal mine in the world and also home of the ‘hanging temple’ and the most amazing giant Buddha carvings in grottos overlooking the coal pits) three children stood giggling at the side of my table – I gestured for them to come over and the launched into “Hello how are you what is your name my name is … i am a student my school is … ” without taking a breath.
We played around for a while and they ran off … about ten minutes later all the men in the restaurant started laughing and pointing … the kids had come back with their English school books and crowded around the table reciting various phrases interspersed with ‘excellent’ ‘& ‘very good’…….
Catching the night train to Pingyao @ 10pm – I’ve booked a hard sleeper (which isn’t too bad – only three hard bunks to a wall (6 in each alcove and we get pillows and a doonaish thingie) its also interesting sleeping in the same space as five men so far I’ve been lucky they have just snored – I’m dreading spending 9 hours with someone who clears their throat all night – and leans over to spit on the floor…… WWWWHHHHHAAAARRRRKKKKK – very wet, very gurglely and probably the most disgusting sound I’ve every heard!)