Connecting Mandarin and English,
The Ground Beneath Us is Chinese
(August 27, 2008) (return
we are in China. Check-in was a breeze and there was enough English and
familiarity in the airport that we could have been in America, or Canada.
Mr. Chen met us as our interpreter and ushered us out to the Chevy mini
van driven by a driver. The drive from the international airport is about
30 miles and all straight forward four lane freeway. The traffic flowed
well except as we approached a bridge.
Because of the delay the day before, of course,
our tickets to Nanchang were invalid and we ended up in the standby. Things
were cool, although a bit loud and fast, and our first piece of luggage
was on the scale and we knew we were in. Then there was a lot of indistinquishable
chat and the luggage was returned to us. So Zhaung Hao, Zhang Kan's niece's
husband, graciously took us to a nearby hotel (way our of our range but
this time the airlines wasn't paying) with the same driver.
Hao and Nick, as Mr. Chen is called,
took us to dinner with the same driver: private room for four, (Gail faced
the door and always was served first, which makes her
the most important person in the room, but we didn't tell her about that
custom), our private server, the restaurant manager was our hostess, and
the food kept coming. There were no uniquie surprise foods, expect for the
sirlion steak which was about a quarter inch thick and cooked to 70%. After
dinner the same driver was waiting for us in front of the restaurant and
took us back to the hotel. A tour of Shanghai was suggested but we think
the day was long enough for everyone.
We are at the airport waiting and we are doing
a grand job of waiting as we have practicing for two days now. Touchdwon
in Nanchang should be about 66 hours after starting off in Dallas.
A note about Chinese efficiency:
Let's not generalize and
assume all situations are the same but:
-at the airport, "Information" sent us to the Ticketing
-who sent us to Check-in,
-who sent us back to Ticketing, and
-we ended up at Standby, where the lady was very animated and seemed
to get things.
This morning we went to Check-in (we had our tickets),
-who, indicated that we were overwieght (over the Pacific we were
allowed 200 pounds, here only 88), gave us a form and sent us to
"254" across the corridor,
-"254", really "255", looked at the paper, took
our passport (he liked Gail's picture), gave us a bill and sent
us to "253",
-"253" took our money and a receipt
-which we took to "254" a.k.a. "255", who sent
us to the original agent.
-who had left her shift, the the boarding passes were there with
Tomorrow we explore the campus and find a
source of food.
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