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Posts Tagged ‘nighttime in China’

I guess it must be girls night out . . . I think in bedding shops it’s usually women selling stuff . . . but I don’t think the gendered division of labour is as segregated as what I’ve seen while living in Korea.

J

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I’m posting this picture because you can see the * by the bus number which means that this bus has air conditioning and you have to pay 2 yuan for the fare.

Now newbies to China, myself included, should realize that just because there’s a * doesn’t mean that the interior temperature and humidity levels will be cooler than the outside conditions–in fact, a fair amount of the time it might even be hotter and more humid inside!!!

Tonight, the bus we got on actually had good air conditioning . . . and this really helps Julianne and I not get irritated by the sardine-packed-conditions of the bus we were on. There were so many people that more couldn’t enter anymore by the front entrance of the bus so they’d just climb in the back exit doors . . . this is not unusual, either, for bus culture in China from what I’ve seen.

Anyways, the extreme bus culture of China is definitely not something we will miss after leaving!

J

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Well, Julianne and I are slowly nearing the end of our time in China–we leave in a couple days.

It’s been extremely hot and humid outside now for several days. Sometimes there’s a semi-cooling breeze that keeps things tolerable in the shade, and sometimes there’s not and you begin to feel like you’re walking through an outdoor sauna . . . and it’s only going to get hotter as the summer progresses!

Anyways, tonight we went out for dinner with friends. One of them had a brother visiting from America, and they had just returned from Beijing and traveling around doing the tourist thing.

We went out for Korean food and had a good time talking about the brother’s first experiences in China. I also got a great picture of him trying kimchi for the first time–he pretty much did the classic contortion and smile to try and hide the shock at how spicy/sour/salty/unlike-anything-you’ve-ever-eaten-in-your-entire-life-before-face . . . it was FANTASTIC!

Later, as we were walking around to do some shopping I saw a classic THIS IS CHINA nighttime street scene.

Shirtless, cold beers, snacks, and sitting with friends by the street having a good time . . .

Awesome!

J

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Photo by M.A.

Last Saturday night Julianne and I went out to a pool hall with friends from work and some expats . . .

And we saw these fantastic pink running shoes (I think they might have been Converse knock-offs) and a heart-shaped stool . . .

It’s amazing how different the performance of masculinity and looking cool for the ladies can be in other parts of the world, lol.

Julianne and I along with some friends contemplated ‘borrowing’ one of the heart-shaped stools to ship home . . . but we restrained ourselves, lol.

J

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Last Saturday night Julianne and I went out with some friends from work to meet some other expats we’ve been hanging out with lately.

We met in downtown Changsha and headed to the pool hall. I had no idea what to expect or how it might be different . . .

We walked in to see a large area with pool and snooker tables. It was around 8:30pm so there were no free tables. We decided to sit down and have some drinks and chat while waiting.

Earlier, when we connected with the other expats, we also met a 30-something male Chinese middle school teacher who is friends with one of the expat teachers. I was surprised to see him and . . . how can I put this ‘nicely’–I wasn’t exactly thrilled because I don’t like to feel like I’m teaching an English conversation and culture class when I’m on my time and out to have some fun with other native speakers; unfortunately this is what happened every time I talked to this teacher. I should say that he was very polite and friendly, and in general a nice guy–but he struggled to follow the speed and native speaker levels of English.

I don’t know what other expat teachers do in this kind of situation but I find myself having to choose between putting extra energy into being polite and friendly and patient when talking to (whether it’s in Korea or in China) non-native speakers . . . and I’d rather not have to speak more slowly, repeat myself, explain idiomatic and slang expressions, and in general restrict my native speaking abilities in order to communicate with the non-native speaker who has come out with a group of native English speakers . . .

Now this is turning into a post about cross-cultural/cross-linguistic etiquette for expats when socializing overseas in Asia . . . but it’s something that was on my mind (I wasn’t the only one too) and I guess I just have to chalk it up to the fact that the expat who invited the non-native speaker is on their first ‘tour of duty’ so to speak in Asia and may not really know about this aspect of expat culture/life overseas.

Anyways, getting back to the pool hall . . .

It was well lit and fairly clean. It also wasn’t too smoky but that may have been due to how it was quite cool outside (for this time of year) and windows were open.

The prices for drinks were fairly expensive–especially for alcohol. A bottle of Hennesey ran us 588 yuan so we shared it amongst five of us who were having drinks. I hadn’t tried it before so while being expensive it was pretty smooth. It was quite amusing to watch some of the younger teachers sipping it and then seeing their faces squirm and wiggle, lol.

I should backtrack and say that ordering the drinks was an ordeal that took five times as long as it needed to–which is kind of par for the course in China. Even with a Chinese native speaker present and ‘helping’ us talk to the servers it took a long time (this might also have been due to the fact that the man doesn’t drink at all and didn’t understand several alcohol words and expressions we were using). Once we all had gotten our Cokes and drinks things relaxed a bit and we all chatted for a while.

The Chinese players were fairly quiet for the most part–which surprised me because in restaurants here it’s anything but quiet. Many had on special three-finger gloves to shoot pool with, and most were smoking.

One other thing I also noticed were the ‘ball girls.’ These girls would float around and monitor who was playing and for how long, collect the fees for the tables/playing time, get drink orders, and in general help out. Oh, they would also re-rack the balls once a game was over.

I guess the last thing I’ll mention was that most if not all of the music playing in the background was English pop and rock with a bit of dance.

Once we actually got a table it was a fun evening, and the closest thing to feeling like I was ‘back in Canada’ while out with expats overseas . . .

Next time we go I’m going to take my camera! The picture here was taken by a friend’s iPhone3 and while it’s not bad I was annoyed with myself for not bring out my DSLR.

Anyways, next time I think I’ll bring my Sigma 10-20mm wide angle . . .

J

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This little guy is Julianne’s favorite dog to say hello to whenever we go for a walk in our area.

Tonight I knelt down to take his picture and was a little alarmed when he gave a little growl and became a little agitated, lol.

Julianne commented that he’s probably never heard the sounds a DSLR makes when it takes a picture . . . so he put on his ‘I’m-watching-you-closely-face’ and I backed off a little as I don’t want to have to fly home to get rabies shots–yikes.

Still, he’s a cutie.

J

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One thing I love about walking around in China with my camera is the English on cars.

J

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