09 November 2007

Tianjin Days

The Chinese really do spit all the time, and it's really disgusting. I can't blame them, though. The air here is god-awful and has already stripped several layers of protective membranes from my sinus cavity and throat. Lovely, eh? I went to Tianjin so I could officially say that I, more or less, visited the ocean on this side of the Eurasian land mass so I can officially say, more or less, that I went from ocean to ocean at the end of this ill-begotten adventure in Portugal. On the way, I chatted with the girl sitting next to me, who turned out to be an evangelical Christian. She had her Chinese Bible with her and even gave me a small pamphlet containing the wisdom of Jesus. In Tianjin, I saw some colonial-era architecture and even managed to order lunch at a Chinese restaurant, which thank God had a picture menu. Here is how that went:

Waitress: ?????????????

Me: Uh, I want food. Food. Uh.

Waitress: ??????????????

Me: (pointing, gesturing pointlessly)

Waitress: ???????????? (points to a seat) ??????????

Me: Shie-shie (thank you)

Waitress: (hovering)

Me: (in Chinese) What are the specials of the house?

Waitress: (confused) ????????????

Me: (showing her the phrasebook)

Waitress: ?????? ??????? (points at like five different things) ??????????

Me: (in Chinese) Is this one eel?

Waitress: (confused) ?????????????

Me: (showing her the phrasebook)

Waitress: ????!! (No?)

Me: Ok, that one (stabbing the menu with my finger)

Waitress: (scribbling) ????

Me: (surmising) Oolong.

To be fair, this is what I imagine it was like from her point of view:

Waitress: Welcome to our beautiful restaurant. Do you have any idea what I'm saying?

Me: ??????????? (pointing to a menu) Food. Uh.

Waitress: Are you alright, sir? I don't understand. Do you need medical assistance?

Me: (pointing, gesturing pointlessly)

Waitress: What's wrong with you? Oh, do you want to sit down? (points to a seat) Sit there where the other customers can't see you.

Me: Tank you.

Waitress: (waiting for the white man to order, eat, and leave)

Me: ??????????????????house

Waitress: (confused) I'm sorry, sir, but I don't understand. Was that German?

Me: (showing her the phrasebook)

Waitress: Oh, I see! Yes, we have many special dishes. (points at like five different things) Please feel free to choose one of these. They are all excellent.

Me: (in Chinese) Do frogs wear underpants?

Waitress: (confused) Excuse me, sir? I didn't study Biology. I was an English major.

Me: (showing her the phrasebook)

Waitress: Oh no, that's not eel. It's manatee intestines. (No?)

Me: Ok, ?????????? (stabbing the menu with my finger)

Waitress: (scribbling) Do you want something to drink?

Me: (surmising) Oolong.

But I think I'm getting the hang of it anyway. I have to end this post now, because several Chinese people are standing behind me, waiting to use the computer, and are in fact watching everything I do. Perhaps, if they can read this, they will stop doing it... no, they're still there. So I will continue my bloggings later.

1 comment:

Jhenn said...

The "English major" part made me lol. Just like Japan!