Thursday, January 21, 2010

Things I Miss About China, #3: Amusing Surprises

The day after Christmas we treated ourselves to massages at this really great massage salon in Xiaogan. While we were getting our massages, we were also watching what can only be described as an Italian/Korean version of every single Disney movie-length cartoon, but mainly The Lion King.

After the massages, Matt & I took a bus to Wuhan (the big city near Xiaogan). We spent our 24 hours there dining at the illustrious Aloha Cafe - where we glutted ourselves on burgers and burritos and chocolate desserts - , riding busses, riding more busses, hanging out with the amazing Ann and enjoying a long Sunday morning at Starbucks. The amusing surprise comes in a few days after we returned when I discovered that I had spent the weekend with the third longest river in the world. I noticed the river, I just didn't know it was significant. The Yangtze or (Chang Jiang) is 215 miles shorter than the Nile, 83 miles shorter than the Amazon and a mere 15 miles longer than the Mississippi/Missouri.

My last example of an "amusing surprise" in China is from my journey home. My flight from Wuhan to Beijing was bound to be a very depressing time. I was prepared to hide my face beneath my scarf and pretend to be sleeping so that no one would have to suffer through the awkwardness of sitting near a sobbing Westerner. However, I never had the time. A business man who spoke a small amount of English sat next to me and started a very rough conversation with me about the book I was reading, Jane Eyre.

It was obvious he just wanted to practice his English, and I needed a distraction, so I spent the next two hours trying to have a conversation with him. He seemed to be better at reading English than at understanding spoken English, so we took to writing on our barf bags. He wasn't a fabulous speller, but it was typically pretty easy to figure out what he meant. The best moment for me was about an hour and a half into the flight when he wrote:

"You are buttyfull."

Yep. I did my best not to burst out laughing as I wrote the correct spelling for beautiful below it. Most amusing compliment ever.


Christi said...

:) I don't know if I would have been able to contain my laughter.

Marie said...

:^) ... my buttyfull daughter! I like it!! thanks for telling us about this amusing interaction.