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VICTOR WISHNA » Chinese Lessons

Archive for the ‘Chinese Lessons’ Category

Lesson #6: How to cross the street in Hanoi

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

In Hanoi, the metropolitan-area ratio of one motorbike for every two people calculates to a total of three million motorbikes, every last one of which seems to be barreling past as you attempt to step off the curb. There are crosswalks here, but no stop signs that I have been able to see; and if they do exist, no one else here seems to be able to see them either. (more…)

Lesson #5: How to enjoy the scenery in China

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the Chinese seem to have a very objective standard as to what qualifies as “scenery.” On more than one occasion, we have been told by a guide, “This is the end of the scenery,” even as miles of once-in-a-lifetime mountain vistas or cavernous expanses of hundred-million-year-old cave formations stretch out before us-or at least so it appeared to our untrained, un-Chinese eyes. (more…)

Lesson #4: How Chinglish can unlock the secret to eternal life

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Seen, on a sign at the entrance to a hiking park near Yangshuo: The itinerary of Immortal, a list of directives which includes, “It is not to climbing on the bad thunderstorming days.” (more…)

Lesson #3: How failure to consider history can ruin your day

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

During our time in China, much has been made of the death and devastation wrought by the Japanese during their occupation of the mainland from the 1930s through the end of World War II. Every official guide we’ve encountered has made at least one mention of something destroyed by the Japanese.

One bit of history they left out: The Manabe coffee-and-fast-food chain was founded in 1970 in Japan. (more…)

Lesson #2: How to recognize that you are in China

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Relying purely on first impressions, there are two ways to recognize immediately that you are in China: (more…)

Lesson #1: When not to start a blog

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

As many of you who are familiar with the system of tubes that is the internet will know, “blog” is net-speak for “web log.” That’s web as in the World Wide Web, and log as in “a document preserving knowledge of facts or events” or “a written record of events on a voyage”-in other words, a blog is a means by which to create updates and distribute them world wide, in real time. (more…)