Cats with Chinese characteristics

So the megaphone comes as standard?

Cats in this country are loud. A couple of nights ago, probably around 2am or 3am, there was a cat fight which was probably the loudest I’ve heard so far. Then for the past two days, there’s been this grubby white kitten which started yowling and running around outside the lock-ups a couple of mornings ago. It’s a large-ish kitten, but the sound it makes is disproportionate to its size. I’m guessing that somehow it’d lost its mother and was hungry.

Last night as I was walking up the street, I saw some kid trying to herd the kitten away by poking at it with a stick. I looked at him, and he kind of looked sheepish. Although I like cats, this particular specimen threatened to deprive me of my sleep because its yowling tended to be incessant. Anyway, when I got back home, it was back and seemed to have been incarcerated in one of the lock-ups. It was yowling again this morning, but has now fallen silent.

I was tempted to do something about feeding it, but I’m not going to make the same mistake Jane did by taking in a stray only to find that it was basically feral, insane, and diseased.


Well, there’s a piece of Chinese taxi culture I didn’t know. I needed to go back to Metro, but left it till late afternoon. I went down to Louhou Lu and hailed a taxi, but got the sense that the driver was only taking me to Metro because it was on his way. He also asked for the fare before we got to our destination. Fortunately, he asked for the right amount. He also drove like a maniac.

It was the same coming back, but I had to say “Shifan Daxue”. Normally I say “Yizhi zou” (“Straight ahead”) because most taxi drivers don’t know where Louhou Lu is. (10.08.14. That’s because, I believe, it was actually 对湖路.) It’s easier to tell them to turn right when we reach the intersection. For this sort of situation I’d need to be able to say “The intersection of Sangao Lu and Louhou Lu”. Of course, most drivers would then have said, “Where?” To which I’d reply “It’s just past the main gate to Shifan Daxue; on the right-hand side of the road.” Unfortunately, my Chinese doesn’t extend that far.

I guess these guys were going home which is why, as I sensed, they wanted me to be going a specific direction. Actually, the second one said he had a couple of kids in the States, but I couldn’t understand exactly where they were because the conversion of English words straight into Chinese will typically render them unintelligible to English speakers because of the difference in syllable structure between the two languages.

Chinese trolley etiquette.

When I was in Metro yesterday I noticed two guys pushing trolleys near the fruit and veg. section. It was a classic driving moment. Wang xiansheng (先生: Mr.) is going straight ahead (silly laowai boy here would consider him to have the right of way); Zhang xiansheng is angling into his path. Does Zhang xiansheng give way? Not bloody likely.

Howler time.

Now for some howlers of a different sort. Here are some semi-precious gems from yesterday’s progress test.

By the end of the 1970s, rock had stolen some musical instruments.
The director of photography is instead of sweets or crisps.
When I want a snack, I have fruit in charge of the camera operators.
The Beatles developed in charge of the camera operators.
He doesn’t have a car instead of sweets or crisps.
The dog is out of the drawer.
Steve says he hasn’t chewed on the cassette.
I like science fiction films. Because them can help me study.

The last answer was to the writing task. It was meant to be six sentences about films with plenty of prompts available, but this particular pupil is a complete 傻瓜. When I gave the kids in Benniu this test last year, I believe one of them wrote that she (?) liked Chicken Run because it told her about the lives of chickens.


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