Connecting Mandarin and English,
(October 28, 2008) (return
at the Shanghai Airport and although Gail will totally deny this, her back
which has been aching off and on, a little here and a little there, since
we arrived in China, is very uncomfortable. She was even talking about using
a wheelchair, but being a good stubborn Scot, and thinking that walking
will work out the kinks, chose to walk. We eventually made it to the gate.
Counter culture shock number has hit us: a
bottle of water for 20 yuan, about three dollars. A can of diet Coke: 38
yuan, about five and a half dollars. We bought two liters in Nanchang for
75 cents. Wow! There are indeed two different Chinas. We love the one where
we were, even the people struggled to live, they were genuine andworked
Another interesting financial discovery, the
exchange at the airport with the Pudong Shanghai Bank was much better than
with the Bank of China in Nanchang. Curious!
Now we're in Vancouver, Canada, and Gail is
using the wheel chair and the electric carts. Hopefully the Oregon air will
Another note about Chinese
could many short paragraphs about the differences between the American
and Chinese cultures. We will continue to acknowledge some of them.
Such as driving. We thought that we'd become accustomed to some
of the tricks of the trade and the differences, and then a new experience
moves in. The latest experience was driving of the freeways, the
limited access highways. There's not much traffic, probably like
I5 at 5:00AM on Sunday or I94 on a wintry day. There are typically
two or three lanes going each direction; not atypical for America.
Here's the kicker: they still drive all over the road as if there
are no lanes. The reason for this behavior defies me as an American.
Oh, and there's this constant speeding up and slowing down regardless
who is or who is not on the road. The white line I think indicates
the middle of the car.
or walking, here are some guidelines. You may remember some that
we mentioned earlier: walk slowly and don't look, or at least act
as if you're not looking. Alas, add to the list, when intersecting
with a vehcile, whether you are a person or a vehicle, aim for the
back of where you think the vehicle will be when you get to the
vehicle. Hopefully the vehicle will maintain a constant pace and
direction and you will clearly miss the vehicle, although you may
get your pants dirty on the bumper.
guildeline may be "to continue to nose into traffic".
Regardless of your size, status or position at the intersection,
if the nose of your vehicle is further into traffic then that of
the traffic, you win. You get to go next. Of course, that means
you may only get to go a car's wide, but you did get into the traffic,
and you can continue to "nose" in until you meet your
goal. For this reason you don't need to know the Chinese character
for stop which is seldomly seen on red octagonal signs.
the driving side by side guideline. Simply put, it's "stick
with it, don't give in, honk your horn to let the other driver know
you are about to be crushed, and honk often". If you're in
the middle lane, go into the lane of the oncoming traffic. They
will avoid you; they don't want an accident anymore than you do.
a red circular international street sign with a single horizon bar
in the middle. Traditionally you may have thought that meant "One
Way - Do not enter." Actually the horizon bar is the Chinese
character for one, and I think the sign means "If you enter
here you will be the only 'one' going in your direction;" but
don't worry no one wants to hit you head on. This is a favorite
for taxi drivers looking for shortcuts.
We left Shanghai at 5:55PM and will arrive
in Portland at 6:05PM the same day. Despite the quick flight or related
to the quick flight this is a very long never ending day. It's still the
same day that we left our apartment 22 hours ago, and it's only a sunny
three in the afternoon.