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Life is Like a Box of Fortune Cookies

travel china \ 2011-07-21

Perhaps due to their long and storied history, the Chinese have learned to eschew needless words and sentences. When they speak they speak with the weight of the greats like Confucius, Mencius, and those two guys who lip synced to Backstreet Boys on their shoulders.

For example, one day while running (yes, I'm as surprised as you are), one of the guards says "Oh, so you're running." Perhaps thinking "Dang, they move faster than I thought" or "Hm, 3pm is a good time for a fact."

My favorite is everyday at breakfast. On my way to the subway I stop and buy bing, a bread made of things like flour, sugar, and lead. And maybe boredom. I feel like on can only make bread on the side of the road if you don't have a ton of better things to be doing. Anywho, that's my breakfast. I then proceed to walk past all of the previously mentioned taxis. What started out as a series of statements like "You foreigners eat food!" "And take the subway!" "And wear pants!" has been reduced to "HAHAHA BING!?!" There is likely more to it than this, but a) I am studiously trying to ignore them and b) they speak with the Chinese equivalent of a the love child of Scottish brogue and Deep Southern. The horrible, horrible, slightly disfigured love child. My ignoring them might stem from the fact that I'm too proud to admit that I don't understand any more than "HAHAHA BING!" But that would be unlikely.

Still, I'm not exactly sure what's so funny. I mean, would you laugh if a Chinese immigrant got on the bus every day with a bowl of porridge?

...Don't answer that.

However, it's when one gets on the subways that the real philosophical history starts coming out in full force. Of instance, one conversation I overheard went as follows:

Little boy: Shanghai University, Which one is it?

Mom: The next stop

Boy: No, no, which one is it?

Mom: I uh... I uh.... I don't know...?

Which one are any of us, really?