Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sheep Skeleton Hot Pot? I Want Seconds and I Haven't Even Had Firsts.

(Actually, this is a very traditional Beijing specialty. It's supposed to be quite good, and I'm surprised I still haven't tried it yet. It just sounds so gross when translated literally.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rides Look at the Ship to Delimit to the Sea Sand Beach Amusement Park

Perhaps not even as much fun as they let on. Note the difference between the stock photo and the real photo in the bottom left.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Fought The Law (and I Won!)

(Suggested listening: "I Fought the Law" by The Clash)   

Living in China can be dangerous - and I'm not talking about the countless hazards we face on a daily basis (insane drivers, the lack of "hard hat areas" in construction sites, etc). It can be dangerous because so much of the time as a foreigner here, you feel above the law. Or above the rules at least. Every rule can be bent or broken here, given the right circumstances. As a foreigner, simply pretending you don't understand for long enough will frustrate authority figures to the point where they simply give up. If this doesn't work, you can always then can the act, and argue/joke with them until they relent.

Therefore, the danger comes in when you're actually in a situation when it might not be the best thing to mess with somebody. When you're used to no consequences, your behavior starts to get riskier.

A group of friends and I were enjoying a lovely meal of Korean barbeque in the neighborhood. The meal was just about finished, but we were in good spirits and lingering for a spell. I excused myself to the restroom, and upon finishing washing my hands in the unisex shared sink area, watched an obviously drunk, middle-aged woman stumble in to common area. She looked at the omnipresent long line to the woman's restroom and sighed and cursed in frustration. Jokingly, I pointed at the door that said "Men" on it, and said "No line in there...".

With that, she barged in through the door, where she was greeted with a few urinating Koreans. She immediately charged back out to see me drowning with laughter and disbelief. "坏蛋!坏蛋!" ("Bad egg!"), she yelled. (Common name called of a bad person). The woman was livid. I was in tears laughing. Even being as drunk as she was, I never imagined she would actually listen to me.

She didn't stop there, though. "Bad egg! You're a bad egg!", she yelled, continuing with an endless stream of ranting. I laughed it off and walked back to my table. A few minutes later, when the drunk woman finally found our table in the small restaurant, she came back to give it to me in front of my friends, who had no clue what was going on but were wondering why I was laughing so hard.

"What's your name? Where are you from?", she demanded.

"I'm from Xinjiang province."

She was unconvinced. "No honestly, I'm from Xinjiang! Look at my beard! Listen to how bad my Chinese is!"

(This might have only been slightly plausible. People from Xinjiang are Uigher, of Turkish decent. When I wore a beard, my Chinese friends told me I could pass for someone from Xinjiang, but really, there is no way this was possible. Even less possible was the fact that this Xinjiang person was sitting with a table of 6 other foreigners speaking fluent English.)

"Don't lie to me!"

"I told you, I'm not lying!"

"Don't lie to me, I'm a police officer!"

At this point, I was having a blast. It was as if things couldn't have gotten any better. Even if she were telling the truth, the fact that she was having difficulty standing up assured me that I had nothing to be afraid of.

"That's great! So am I!"

She stormed off. A minute later, she came stumbling back, this time flashing her badge in my face. She demanded again to know where I was from.

I pulled out my Indiana driver's license. "See! Xin. Jiang.", I said as I pointed to the word, "Indiana". I turned to a friend to laugh, while still holding up my license. She then reached in without me even realizing it and snatched it from my hand. The woman then drunk-ran around the corner, where she huddled over the card, simultaneously trying to get her eyes to focus on anything, and trying to find a single word her extremely limited English could recognize. I knew the only English word that she might be able to understand would be "America", but thankfully, due to the States' fiercely anti-national ID beliefs, this word was nowhere on the card. Even still, I had to get my ID back.

I snuck up behind her ever so quietly and slowly. I reached around the huddling woman and lifted the card right from out of her grasp, then made a mad dash back to my seat.

This was met with another barrage of "Bad egg! Bad egg!" and a few more minutes of shouting. By this time, I was done. I'd had my fun and just wanted the lady to go away, which she eventually did after a few more empty threats.

I only wish she would have brought me down to the station to hear what charges she wanted to file against me. "Informing a drunk off-duty female police officer of vacancy in the male restroom"? I'm sure they would have thrown the book at me.

Goodbye, Kermit. Thank you for being delicious.

Photo credit: Eva Chan

We've Heard You Loud and Clear: Now with More Privelege and More Happy

Don't Put Bathroom

Sometimes life just isn't fair. You want to put bathroom, but the man won't let you.


Found on bathroom stall doors in a Wangjing mall. Self-explanatory, but are people really shaped like this?