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Deep Asia:


Life in a Special Zone

Little Encounters with Shenzhen

Sometimes I catch a sight out of the bus window, or have a brief encounter with the culture.  Too small to merit a page of their own, these moments are recorded here as Glimpses into life in Shenzhen.  More will be added as they happen.

True Love: A man and a woman riding bikes on a busy highway, side-by-side (despite trucks whizzing by), his right hand resting between her shoulder blades as he steered his bike with his left hand. (10/29/2004)

A new euphemism: My friend told me that his Chinese girlfriend didn't know how to inform him of her grandmother's death, and finally came up with: "My grandmother finished life." (10/29/2004)

Resolution: A pedestrian got hit by a car, and rolled about 10 feet (3 meters).  He got up, limping; argued loudly with the driver for almost 10 minutes (he wasn't in the nearby crosswalk when hit); and finally got into the car, presumably for a ride to the hospital. (10/28/2004)

Cargo Bicycle Chronicles 1: [I will often be telling you of amazing things I have seen transported on ordinary bicycles.]  One man, one 2-wheel bike, four double-sized mattresses on the rack behind him, and resting at a slant on the back of his head.  Even better when the wind blows. (10/28/2004)

Fitting: One of my students missed the first class meeting.  When he appeared today at the second, I asked, Why?  Couldn't find the room, he said.  OK, What's your name?  "Lazy." (10/21/2004)

My faux pas: I am teaching an elite group of students who will go to Beijing for a speech competition next month. I had this conversation by text with one of them today:

  • R: i am afraid i cant come to ur class today because of a party meeting, sorry about it

  • ME: PARTY?!

  • R: Chinese Communist Party  (10/21/2004)

Menu: One could go mad trying to record all the "Chinglish" encountered, but one 112-item menu stood out.  Highlights: 

  • Two of the eight under "Congee": "Spring onion a laurel blossom fillet gruel" and "Salty chicken matrimony vine gruel."  [So many gruels, so little time.]

  • Three of the thirteen under "Steamed": "Multicolored cow cypress leaf," "The ancient method steams the sparerib," and "Tore the chicken spring roll." [Beggars description]

  • Three of the seven under "Rice roll": "Preserved egg roast filet of pork bowel," "Fresh shrimp in fresh vegetable silk bowel," and The xo sauce silver bud fries the bowel powder." [Can't get enough bowel.]

  • One of the eight under "Snack": "The joss stick fryings the gold pastry." [???]

  • One of the twenty under "Assort buns": "Verdant a vegetable dumpling." [Actually sounds good]

  • Two of the nine under "Deep-fried": "Pig's blood jello w/Chinese chive" and "The joss stick fryings the horses hoofs pastry." [Hold the chive, please; it detracts from the pig's blood]

  • One of the eighteen under "Elegant dessert": "Honey BBQ pork cake" [Yum!  "Mom, can we have pork cake for dessert tonight?"  "No, Honey, that's only for elegant dessert."]

  • One of the seven under "Beverace": "Classy milk" [Who wants to drink ordinary milk?]

I have skipped everything under "Shan shou chu dian" (mostly uninteresting, Chinglish-wise)  and "Chu shi tui jie," whose twelve items are simply transcribed, but not translated (useless). (10/11/2004)


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