User Comments - dtoronto

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Posted on: Life's A Zoo
October 01, 2012, 12:53 PM

Funny story -

I was in Wuhan with my wife, she was taking me sight seeing.  We were on our way to the zoo.  The funny part is - she didn't know how to get there, and I pulled out my electronic dictionary and looked up zoo - so I knew the Chinese spelling.  Then I looked at the bus stop sign (had around 40 different destinations) and the very first route I looked at just happened to say "Zoo" in Chinese.  I showed it to her, and she was blown away.  Of course it was a fluke

Good lesson team.

Posted on: Using Excel
June 29, 2012, 02:41 PM

What is a vacation?

Posted on: Looking for a Parking Space
June 07, 2012, 05:48 PM

Good lesson, just a comment - it sounds like Grand Prix in the background ...  just my observation.

Posted on: Please Speak Mandarin!
May 24, 2012, 10:08 AM

My wife is from Wuhan - She speaks Wuhan hua ... in this dialect, they cannot pronounce the sound "Sh"as in "shoe shine" the sound comes out as a "z" sound.

The first time we met, I had only studied for 6 months, and she could not speak more than 10 words of English - such as "good morning, how are you I am fine thank you". So it was up to me to speak Mandarin. I studied online at CP and other resources such as Pimsleur, etc... and found CP the best.

To get to the point - we were in a hotel room - and she wanted to ask if I wanted to watch TV - which came out like "Cai dien zhu ma?" I didn't understand and when I said "Dien Shi" she nodded and said "Dien Zhu". I still smile when she corrects me back to her dialect.

Another funny thing - Everyone in Wuhan has roughly the same dialect, and if you go into a crowded restaurant - it sounds something like a hive of bees. "Zzzz"

When we travel to Beijing - there doesn't seem to be any problem - because the Taxi drivers speak the Beijing dialect - such as "Ni zai nar" ... I would use nali. But she has watched enough TV to speak the Beijing dialect. It is really funny to hear the dispatcher on the Beijing taxi radio - to me it sounds like a pirate .... Arrr mateys !!!

It is also funny to watch a movie in Mandarin where one person is speaking putonghua and the other person has a Beijing dialect that they cannot control.

Shanghai - another story completely - for another time.

Posted on: Can I Sit Here?
March 29, 2012, 11:34 AM

Funny thing happened to me when I was in Wuhan for the first time - my wife (from Wuhan) wanted to introduce me to a friend of hers who lives in Xiang Fan - about 4 hour train ride.  We purchased tickets for the train (i suppose you could call it general admission) and we were shepparded to a car. 

The car was very packed, it had six people to a table, and everyone was smoking so it was very cloudy in the car.  My wife told me to follow her and we made our way three or four cars towards the front.  There was a student sitting by himself at a table, so she told me to sit down, and she sat down as well.   No please or thank you - no hello, and certainly no "May I?"

The funny part about this was that we had stopped at some convenience store / market, and my wife had purchased all kinds of snacks, like chicken feet, types of fruits and nuts, and I bought chips, chocolate bars and cokes.  She pulled all of these out and we started to munch - she never offered any to the kid.   I am guessing this is pretty normal, but I saw him take a peek at some of the western treats.  When my wife got up to stretch, I gave the guy a chocolate bar - and motioned "Shhh"  because my wife would probably give me that look.  Certainly she is an extremely generous person and very friendly but that is a close circle of people ... and doesn't include strangers. 

When I was in the US, I tipped a hair stylist $5.00 and she was mad at me for like an hour - I tried to explain that that is how these people survive.

It is quite true that Westerners use the words, "please" and "thank you" around 10 times as much as the Chinese, but I am guessing that would devalue the meaning of the word to a Chinese.

One last thing - hope you like this story - One time we were at a massage establishment and there were separate rooms for the foot massage and body massage.  Well, my wife finished her foot massage first and went into the separate room for the body massage. After my attendent had finished drying my feet, I gave her a 10 RMB tip.  I didn't think anything of it but I told her not to say anything (SHH)  ... when she took me to the body masssage tables, she left the room and then came back with two other masseuses.  ha ha !!!  I was massaged by three girls at once.

Posted on: Family Member Terms of Address
March 13, 2012, 03:41 PM

How do you say "Half step cousin in law?"

Just kidding

Posted on: A Phone Call to the Moving Company
November 16, 2009, 01:25 PM

I made a compilation of amazing bicycle feats in China.  There is a warehouse very close to a shopping district in Wuhan - and the products are moved by cart from the distribution centers to the retail centers.  The carts are often piled as high  as a truck and pulled by an old man who is usually smoking a cigarette as he pulls the cart up and down the street.  I sat on a bench for around 1 hour as I watched things I would have never believed possible.

Other things that are quite common are bicycles with 8 sacks of rice ... I would guess over 500 pounds.  I have seen bicycles with 10-12 50L water jugs ... man just to much to describe.  I thought pulling a rickshaw was a tough job.   Physical output doesn't seem to be a limitation in China and combined with the squatting, it seems to lead to washboard abs.




Posted on: I'm Not Here
July 20, 2009, 10:36 AM

Speaking of cultural differences...

... sales people who answer their phones during a sales call ... reminds me of the time I went to the movies in China with my wife.   If someone's phone rings during the movie, I noticed they speak up - over the movie ... and everyone in the audience turns to the person and listens to their phone call rather than watching the movie. 

Bizarre, at least to me.  Anyone else notice this?


Posted on: Toilet Types
April 08, 2009, 11:02 AM

Hi folks:

Well, I have been to China three times, and in all of the hotels I stayed in have sitters, but usually my wife and I rent an apartment which has a squatter.  We stay in the hotel for maybe 1 day.

Okay, the abs look great after a few days, but you can forget about having a smoke and reading the newspaper.  On the plus side, the squatter sits dead center in the shower stall, so - uh, well, it lets you combine two things at once ... is this a faux pas? 

Here is the best tip: generally speaking #1 can be performed in the foulest of conditions, but #2 - I prefer clean (relatively) conditions.  So - I go to the ShangraLa hotel, and they have facilities outside the bars or check-in counter.  There is a gift shop inside so you do have a reason for being there, and the toilets are the best in the world - gold plated, ornamental tile, even towels.  They never questioned me as Lao Wai and I just went about business as though I was a guest.  Almost makes me think that $375.00 US a night is worth it  (not)

Okay, on a side note, I am leaving on Friday (April 10) for Beijing and I will be there for 4 or 5 days.  Then I am going on to Shang Hai since I have never been.  I will be there sometime between the 16th and 19th, but I haven't confirmed yet - just have to take care of business in Beijing first and then I am on to Shang Hai.  I am hoping to visit the studio - if that is okay, and I am not sure exactly how much time I will spend.    I am taking the train from Beijing to Shanghai because I can get a sleeper and avoid one night hotel stay (did I mention I am frugal?)

My wife's name is Jin Hua and when she asked me for an English name, I said "How about Jenny?"  she loves it.  This is coincidence, since we were married April 16, 2007, before I was a member here at Chinese pod.

I guess I am off-topic.  

The worst toilet I have ever seen was at a factory, and it was next to the employee dormatories.  There were no lights inside (or windows) and that was a good thing, although ventilation would have been nice.  It consisted of a trough and some sort of fire hose that obviously wasn't used regularly.  I was able to hold my breath long enough to complete the #1 but it still gives me bad dreams.

I love China !



Posted on: Dog Meat and Animal Rights
March 19, 2009, 12:06 PM

Something to lighten the mood ... perhaps

My wife was in China, and my son was visiting me in NJ ... we were at a mall and there was an animal adoption clinic ... I looked at the cats, and there was one cat that came right up to me (through the cage) and put his paw out to reach me ... well, I ended up adopting the cat (xiao hou 小的老虎).  With the miscellaneous fees, and donation charges, I think I paid over $120.00 to get the cat.

I called my wife, and told her I had got a cat, she asked me "For free?" and I told her the price.  She was completely shocked.

I told my son how shocked she was, and he answered "Ya Dad, in China, they sell them by the pound"

Good job CPod, as usual.  I will be in China on April 10th, and I plan on returning through Shanghai.

 I perhaps have posted this beforfe, but I thought it was relevant and light enough to take the edge off a bit.