Tuesday, May 11, 2010


After work today my girl Jess and I went to the fake market - which is exactly what it sounds like, a place to buy all things fake. Fake shoes. Fake sunglasses. Watches, hats, bags, overcoats, Uggs, Crocs, makeup, perfume and on and on and on. 

Everywhere we went I'd say, "ooh I like this" and ask Jess how much I ought to pay (she's been here almost a year) to which she'd respond "whatever you feel like it's worth" and then I'd buy it and she'd go "oh that was way too much." Basically a year of China-living as turned Jess into an old Chinese lady - "OHYOUPAYTOOMUCH!"

Okay, it wasn't every store. But I have to give her a little bit of shit (or "take the piss out of her" as my limey co-workers would say) because we were standing in one store and I was asking the clerk, in very slow English, "Okay, but do you have it in another color-

And Jess goes, "Do you always talk in English?"

It caught me off guard. And then made me feel guilty. It's the fake market, it's tourist-central, all the clerks speak very good English. But still.  

Part of it is my Chinese is far enough along those kinds of conversations aren't a challenge anymore, so I don't care much what language is used. But I do need a bit of a kick in the ass: Shop talk isn't any difficulty, but I haven't been seeking out opportunities for other conversation either. Well, there was one night in a cab after a couple beers, me and cabbie had a chitty chat about why exactly the line at this one gas station was all the way around the block ("Because their gas is really cheap and there aren't very many places with gas that cheap" "Why is it so cheap?" "It's just their business.."). But beyond that ... nothing else.

The good news is my first Chinese lesson is tomorrow morning! Onward and upward.

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