7/14/07

Small reasons why I love China...

* Directness. Chinese can be brisk and too-the-point, which makes dealing with waitresses or shop owners all the more easy. The language is very practical and sometimes tactless. With bargaining, telling someone that the shirt should be cheaper because it's a little ugly or cheaply made is socially acceptable. So is yelling 服务员 (fuwuyuan! Hard to say... you'd have to hear it) to call a waitress, which is literally calling a "servant." Yelling 买单 (maidan) is "pay bill" and when you want something like napkins or extra chopsticks, it's okay to yell out just the word. If service is too slow, feel free to say 快点儿! (kuaidianr) "faster!" and one of the 12 waitresses taking a nap or gossiping will come help. It's not rude because things are done like this here.

* Public transportation. It's so easy to get around. The subway is fast and taxis are very cheap. I'm on an equal playing field.

* Grammar. I speak with, I'm sure, terrible grammar in Chinese, but that doesn't mean people don't understand me. Chinese grammar is far, far less strict and far more simple than English grammar, with no verb conjugations, real past tense or plural forms. Many Chinese don't really know their grammar rules since it's not so essential to get it right always.

* I have a cleaning lady. I'm spoiled, I'm aware, but having someone mop your floors and clean your bathroom is a luxury I've never had before. It's wonderful.

* 24 hours. Yes, the Chinese embrace the 24 hour restaurant, kwik-marts, etc. principle. This is comforting.

* (zhou, or say "joe" in monotone) 粥, maybe known by it's Cantonese name "congee" in the states, is a spectacularly simple rice porridge with other various, sometimes medicinal, ingredients usually eaten anytime in the day. Calling it rice porridge makes it sound like prison food, but 粥 is simply one of the best things ever. 粥 with sesame, peanut and pinenuts, cold 粥 with melon, 粥 with "black chicken" (a chicken soaked in ginseng and medicinal herbs) and walnuts, 粥 with shredded seaweed and mushrooms, 粥 with jasmine flowers... the list is endless and delicious.

more, more, more...

My foot is doing much better! I'm sure it'll be completely healed in a few days. Post!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

reasons to read your posts: I like the pictures, I love your writing -it's the closest to hearing you talk, and we really love you!

love, Marie

ps Use the cane - canes come in handy for all sorts of things...
and I hope your ankle's better!

Chad said...

What a cute post Marie!

Lookit my flicker the both of youse:
http://flickr.com/photos/chad_harris/

Maybe I'll stop by China later next week or so and see how you're doing ...

OF COURSE I WILL BECAUSE I'M GOING!

See you in like a week!

ariel said...

we're all going! glad you like china so much, it's about to get a whole lot cooler on august 9th. here come the spics!

Anonymous said...

Those of us not going are devastatingly jealous but will survive with lots of pictures with all of your faces in them (thanks for the site Chad) Be safe and have a wonderful time together!

love, Marie

Anonymous said...

Hey Ross,
I love you!

Chad said...

Whew. I'm so excited. I have a "to-do" list in Google documents. So much to remember.

I week from today I'll be up in the air ...