China IX

My interactions with Chinese people are always odd, usually frustrating for everyone involved, and also require me to say “wǒ bù míngbai” repeatedly, meaning “I don’t understand” (I wish I could add tones to the pinyin or just the Chinese characters themselves, but this font and/or charset has a sad at me.) (Found a hack that allows pīnyīn and 汉字 into WordPress!)

While I’ve already mentioned the “you don’t look Australian” one—which still happens many times a day, and is getting on my nerves—here are a few more I found interesting.

  • At some café that served me live ants in my food, I spoke to one waiter who could speak English. The other waiters told him I was Australian, so he decided to speak to me in English, while I was trying to practise my Chinese, so our conversation went something like:
    Where are you from?
    Wǒ shì Àodàlìyà rén. (I am Australian)
    Oh! You are student?
    Shìde, wǒ zài Zhèjiāng Dàxué xuéxí Hànyǔ. (Yes, At Zhejiang University I study Chinese)
    Well, I hope you have good time in China, thank you for dine with us!
    Xièxie! Zàijiàn! (Thank you! Goodbye!)
  • At a Jack and Jones, when I tell the girl helping me that I am from Australia (this is to say “Wǒ shì Àodàlìyà rén”) she has a whimsical smile on her face for the next half hour, repeating “Àodàlìyà” over and over while following me around, sometimes saying it to her coworkers/friends, sometimes just saying it slowly like “Ào … dà … lì … yà” when she probably thought I couldn’t hear her, but I totally could.
  • At a UNIQLO, I was trying to point out a price discrepancy, and the cashier didn’t understand me. She asks the person next to her to help, and the lady glances at me and asks, “Nihonjin desu ka?” (Are you Japanese?) which was surprising, because most people think I’m Chinese, not Japanese. I reply “Nihonjin janai … Eigo wo hanasemasu ka?” (I᾿m not Japanese, do you speak English?) which, to my delight, she could. This lady is fantastic, she can speak Chinese, Japanese, and English, and well too!

P.S.: the end of the world is supposed to be at 19:12.43 GMT +8 so I am going to head out for my last meal, hopefully some super nice Hainan chicken rice. So long, farewell.

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