Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Veterinarian or Restaurant?

I'll leave that question for you to ponder, dear reader.

Classes began in earnest today, with a two-hour reading/writing class and a two-hour speaking class, back-to-back. Reading/Writing 5 was too easy, Speaking 9 was too hard, I'll change them both and end up somewhere in the middle. The tricky part about all this, is that it's in Chinese.

I came to an alarming realization today. When eating with chopsticks, one uses two of them. The implication here is that there are at least twice as many chopsticks as there are people in China. That's 2.6 billion chopsticks, or about 1.5 million trees.

Actually, it's probably a lot more, considering that, on an average day, the Chinese throw away over 123 million chopsticks.

I was moseying back towards campus yesterday, noodling around, taking pictures, when I was accosted by two women who started talking to me in Chinese. They were probably in their early 30's, well dressed, perfectly respectable looking women, and they were clearly very anxious for me to understand something. Unlucky for them, I couldn't understand a word they were saying. I apologized and told them about my disability, expecting them to leave me alone, but to no avail. They continued quite adamantly, and as they repeated things, I gradually began to understand.

They said they were hungry, and needed money to buy food. I overcame an impulse to capitalize on this chance to practice my Chinese, and feigned continued incomprehension. But still, they wouldn't leave me alone. After a while, I caved, as things were becoming more and more feisty, and offered to buy them some dumplings down the street. The nastier of the two women- the one who had been doing most of the talking- only got angry at this, and demanded 200¥. I scoffed, and bid them goodbye. She responded with a phrase I couldn't understand, but she spat it out in such a way that I'm quite sure it was very nasty indeed. Really odd.


Anonymous Susannah said...

Oh Sammy! These posts make me laugh out loud in places where I don't have the capacity to explain what is so funny. I should say that when Arabic alludes me, I do often give thanks to Allah that at least there is an alphabet, and with a finite number of letters. Good luck with everything. Oh, and Saidi thinks you should reply to our emails. We miss you!

12/9/06 1:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home