Chatting with a taxi driver!

31 05 2010

Another night train brought me back in Hefei extremely early in the morning. Interesting to see the city waking up. From the railway station, got the usual cab to my place down in the south. And I had a sort of chat with the driver. No, I did not find a taxi driver able to speak English: it was all Chinese! Very few words from my side, a few more from his, but I think I understood some of the things he wanted to say, especially about the part that he had no idea where my house was!

A few details here. Until a couple of weeks ago I always used on the taxi a piece of paper with my address handwritten by a Chinese colleague. Then recently I decided to just tell the drivers the name of the area and a few of the main streets in that area that they should know, and then pointing the directions. Learning by trying, and I managed all the times to get home!

This morning, the driver had a bit more problem to understand the main streets, so I had to mention the expressway that goes from the center all the way down, and from that one, the names of a few other streets. So then he understood. Then, interested about chatting, he told me he lived here 3 years.. and I told him I have been 2 months here! 🙂 I guess he start worrying about my knowledge of Hefei streets.. but feeling good about the early morning laoway company, maybe, told me my Chinese was good..

A good start of the day!!

However, my Chinese is not good.. it is actually NOT.. finish.. I know numbers, I know when a taxi driver has no idea where he should go and as any Mediterranean country person, I can read gesticulation and facial expression, stitching all together with those 5 words I actually know in Chinese and make out the meaning of the sentence a taxi driver could tell me.. It is not like having a chat at work or trying to pick up a girl in the disco!! 😦

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – It is not uncommon in China that taxi drivers do not know the way. Because cities are expanding and changing so fast that streets sometimes change name or are cancelled. Because maybe the drivers is used only to the center or has been not long in the city. Because Chinese cities are messy! So better to learn always a couple of the main streets around your area, or have a detailed address in Chinese! Or if not enough they call colleagues.. or just stop other taxi.. My very first time in China, arriving in the night in Wenzhou, no contacts and hotel address in English only, the first driver moved me over to a second car.. and he managed after a long trip to find the hotel! It was a strange beginning!


On the road again!

28 05 2010

Ready to go to the night train to Hangzhou for attending my first Aikido seminar since I moved to China!

2 months, no practice, little sport, too much food and a couple of times too much party as well.. let’s say how dead I’ll be on Sunday, for the night train back!

Practice is with Etsuji Horii Shihan, 7.dan: I have been told he is a typical hombu dojo style Aikido.. even more scary if he does start like doshu practice: ai hanmi irminage or shomen uchi iriminage? 😦

I hope in a bit of a softer start.. 😉

Old age!! I know!!

Alternative taxi

28 05 2010

First experience on a very Chinese taxi form: in the center, it is common, especially not in winter time, to get a ride by motorbike, a different and very efficient taxi form. What it is also very Chinese is that you can share the bike seat with another person, besides the driver, bringing to 3 the number of people on the bike!!

So last night I was on the bike together with my friend Rae, going from Madison to Kim’s bar!

So cool!! And the driver could even speak some English.. and of course we talked about Italian football!

Also it was definitively not bad having Rae, this pretty little girl, in front of me to hang on to 😉

Visit to ZhouShan!

26 05 2010

PsydeeLast friday night I took a night train to Ningbo, in the hard sleeper compartment. It was not hard a tall, especially compared to my bed at home!! As soon as I met my gorgeous friend Psydee, we took a bus to her home town, ZhouShan,  舟山, a very special island group off the coast of Ningbo. I was very excited both for meeting again Psydee after more than one year (April 2009 in Ningbo) and also because this was my first weekend trip since I moved to China, for one like me that was used to travel every weekend!! 🙂 Not that I compare my social life in Hefei with my (zero) social life in Stavanger.. or that I complain.. 😉

Stone sculpturesAlways special for me to visit a new place not as a tourist, but together with local people: even more special this time since I was guest of Psydee’s family and Psydee’s mother has been extremely nice with me, taking us around by car, making and offering amazing good food!! But also the sand beach of Zhoushan is where it takes place a special sand sculptures exhibition, with artist from everywhere in the world. It was amazing!! And just on a smaller island, 塘头岛 (tang tou dao) , owned by an artist called 朱仁民, Zhu Ren Min, there were his sculptures in stone, an amazing exhibition of expressivity and imagination in the form of Buddhist monks.. a walk on the side of the sea giving such a peaceful and relaxing feeling!

Best fish!Saturday evening, Psydee’s mum took us to what I can only call “seafood paradise”.. A huge hall with along the long side several (30-40) small seafood exposing tables, like the picture on the side.. In front of the seafood boot, there was a restaurant area with 2 rows of 3-4 tables. Each boot has its own restaurant sector. So you choose the food you want, the extra side dishes, they cook it straight away, and then it’s only pleasure!!! 😀 I guess a few Norwegian friends and not only would really enjoy this place!!!

Food and company, great time visiting new places and getting closer to old friends.. what a great start for my weekend trips in China!!! Extra special was also meeting Psydee’s grandparents, a couple full of vitality, above 70 years of age: I had been told that, otherwise it was impossible to guess!!!

Also Sunday morning we visited a bit more Zhoushan and a small mountain were Psydee used to go with her school, when she was a little girl! First time back in 10 years for her.. and a good time there for me! And then, Psydee’s mum made wonton in soup: super yummyyyyyyy!!! Great lunch before we got a ride back to Ningbo from a firend of Psydee’s family.. and more about the great evening in Ningbo later!!

Not a surprise I like Ningbo!

25 05 2010

Many more pics from my holidays weekend in Ningbo and especially ZhouShan are coming soon!!

Best fish!

24 05 2010

What a great weekend..

Friends, people, food, atmosphere, places…..

More than 300 pics to process and chose for posting..

And not much sleep on the return train “thanks” to a snooring Chinese dude.. that I could not kick as I would do if it was tatami-dojo snooring! 😦

Let’s see tonight how tired I am!

Enjoy this fish.. the story will come soon!


21 05 2010

Little more than 1 hour and I will take a night train to Ningbo for meeting again her, my dear friend Psydee..

I’ve missed her..

She will take me to her home town, the island out of the cost..