Last week Driver Shi told me some stories about his family. He doesn’t talk much about himself so it was quite a treat. He casually dropped in that he used to own and run a restaurant! I can easily picture him as the brains of the operation.
Xiao Chen thinks it’s great how much I’ve travelled, that I speak Chinese and enjoy Chinese food. What truly stunned him was my explanation that in western food potato is considered a staple (starch) food more than a vegetable.
In Perth with my sister I took a ferry to Fremantle – complete with dolphins, watched State of Origin, went shopping, visited a Beijing friend at a cidery in the hills, and saw a play. It was a great time, with clear air and cider. Then I went home.
I enjoy chatting with Xiao Chen while he drives me home. We have real back and forth, and both learn from each other. He asks questions and is happy to answer mine, and he follows up my comments with questions and genuine interest.
The best moment came later, after we’d talked for a while. She said to me, “You speak great Chinese. Actually, your Mandarin is better than our boss’s. He’s been here in Beijing more than 10 years but he still doesn’t speak as well as you.”
I got completely out of the habit out wearing seatbelts when I first arrived. Many cabs did not HAVE functional seatbelts. I would automatically reach for a seatbelt and the driver would laugh at me, bewildered as to why I would bother with it.
Hey everyone, This isn’t a regular update email. Instead, it’s some China storytelling! I was reminded recently that one of the most popular updates I ever sent out was the “Water Stories” of last summer (July 2009). So I’ve been on the look out for some stories to tell you – so here goes! Cold…