China Travel-Blog part 1
I started learning mandarin on the plane ride over. 'Wu' means 'I' and 'shu' means 'am', but 'shu' is not as ubiquitous a word as its english equivalent. When asked 'Ni hau ma' ('How are you?' but literally 'You good, right?') the answer is 'Wu hen hau.' (literally 'I very good'.) The abbreviated grammar makes it somewhat easier to learn, as do some phonetic tricks, like the word for 'no' (bu shu) sounding a lot like an english phrase for bovine scat, which also means, in a way, 'no'.
'Ni' is 'you'. 'You' is 'have'. 'Mae you' is 'don't have'. 'Shu' is not only 'am', but also 'yes', hence 'bu shu' is not only 'no', but also 'am not'. 'Wu shu Ezra Cipes Ja na da ren', means 'I am Ezra Cipes, a Canadian'.
Our Chinese distribution partner Yang Wei, who recently bought the rights to distribute our brand here from our friends David and Mandy in Hong Kong, unexpectedly rendevoused with my travel companion and interpreter Li Zhou and me at the Beijing airport, and we all flew together to Chengdu for today's tradeshow. Yang Wei's husband, who I call 'Yuan chien shung', literally 'Mr Dollars' (apparently his real name) and his driver met us at the Chengdu airport, where I breathed my first lungful of the local air, which is thick with pollution.
On the ride to the hotel, we literally bullied our way through traffic, ceaselessly weaving, braking, and accelerating, honking our horn and flashing our brights to let other traffic know we were coming through, and veering onto pedestrian filled by-roads to get around traffic lights. All with no seatbelts. Li leaned over and told me that our car had special military plates, which apparently entitled us to drive like maniacs. When we got to the hotel, the car slalomed two 'no parking' signs to stop right on top of the sidewalk in front of the lobby.
In the room, the bed was hard, and felt like a giant, taut drum. (I woke myself this morning with a fart, which reverberated and echoed through the bed). There is no WiFi in my room, so I am typing this from the hotel lobby, where facebook is mysteriously blocked from the server, and where the search engine is in the oriental pictoral characters.
Now I'm going upstairs to put on my fancy dark blue suit with the little Ja na da ren flag pin (which I wear less than once a year in BC, but which I will don almost everyday while I am here in the People's Republic of China), and go pour some fine organic wine from pristine British Columbia for the good people of Chengdu. I'll let you know how that goes in another post.
(P.S. spellcheck is also in pictoral characters, so please excuse any spelling mistakes!)
We saw the aftermath of three fender benders and one more serious accident. The only time we almost ran into trouble was when we crossed paths with another vehicle with military plates. Neither car was willing to yield to the other until the last possible moment.