Day 39 - St.Pats Quiz Night

Thursday, March 17th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

Sugar and cream in the coffee - nice to start your day with something sweet. Some sweetness in the morning sure is nice, isn’t it? Sure is nice with some o' that sugga in the morning, doncha think? Is that a euphemism? Am I being dirty? 

No, it’s just coffee. We have to give the kids a test in “oral english,” which is a randomly chosen topic for a month with which we begin each class.* This month’s topic, I think I’ve mentioned, is Geography. They don’t learn anything related in mandarin ’til middle school. Despite that, they now know all the continents, the know that a continent is bigger than a country, they know all the oceans, and some countries from each continent. Which reminds me that I should actually make the test…

Quiz night is every other Thursday, meaning it lands on tonight! Dan says he’s not going to quiz night tonight, but Mary and Tad are both down. Given my lack of sleep, a nap is in order.

MC Luigi and his Feline Copilot
Fade to black.

Fade in to find Mary coming around the corner next to my apartment. We grab a cab and have the first 1-on-1 conversation since we’ve met. She also writes, likes to read, and is as into standup comedy as I am. Probably more, actually.

We see Tad taking off his coat as we approach the entrance. The deal tonight is ¥45 for two IPA’s. Bring on the hops! To be honest, I’m not a big fan, but life's spice or whatever. Bottom line: Who can argue with those prices? 

Nighttime Hutong Traffic
During the quiz, I learned a bit more about Tad: he’s 26(?), has a degree in writing and philosophy, likes Kant, used to be a reporter, but switched to teaching when the pay was too low for too long, and eventually found his way to China.

As for the quiz itself, we did about he same as last week. We got a lot of the general trivia themed around “green,” and the odd answer on the news section. Really fumbled the ball on the “movie limericks” section. The final section was naming songs, but you needed both the band and the song name. Tricky with those classic tunes that you know only by ear.

"I love that I've met you at the time when
you're still taking pictures of empty
hutongs at night"
Tonight was more tame than last week, “only” having 5 beers. The three of us left after the quiz to get some fabled falafel. We saunter the hutongs, following Mary. If you recall the last time we followed her, it was in the opposite direction of our destintion. This time, we’re haphazardly walking down random, dimly lit back alley streets known as hutongs. People on two-three wheeled motorized vehicles zip by now and again. Eventually, we arrive.

I enjoyed the conversation at the falafel place, talking about China, and language. Tad said he hated it when other foreigners had better Mandarin than him, prompted by another foreigner - who had better Mandarin than him - ordering a pita. I talked about how it’s felt a little difficult making friends at the school because everyone has their own schedules, and it’s difficult to break into them. I think they agreed that it was just a strange time for that, but my memory is a wee bit hazy. 

I could get the gist of what the woman working there said, and told her that the food was delicious. On our way out, Tad thought he hadn’t paid, and I was able to hobble together some functional sentences that helped me learn that he had already paid.

Chinese Falafel
We caught a cab back, dropping off Mary and Tad first. We tried the fabled “double drop off” by Tad trying to tell the woman that we were going to two different places. I tried to say them first, but they wanted me dropped first to make sure I made it alright, I think. Tipsy/Drunk Tad is pretty funny with how he interacts in Mandarin, throwing out random phrases and seems to mimic their mannerisms in a way that everyone finds humorous.

I ended up in bed at the somewhat reasonable hour of 12:30am, having to get up at 6:40 the next morning. Finger’s crossed that the hangover is nonexistent, and the cold I have doesn’t see the gap in my armor.

*That’s what sentences sound like when you try to avoid ending them with a preposition. Poppycock!

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
nurse - hùshi [who-shir]
employee - yuángōng [yu-ann-gong]

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