Day 123 - Dragon Boat Festival

Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Smog Level: 1/3

Chinese History

As of Tuesday, I finally finished the book that reviews Chinese history from the 1600’s-2000s.

Dan and the Tiny, Pink vehicle
My god, that was super slow. If you recall, I mentioned it way back on DAY 73! Holy crap, this was a slow-going book. Bear in mind that it’s an audiobook, and listening to those while you walk around usually makes them fly by. Despite that, this was still one of the dryest books I’ve ever read, and partially my fault. When reading a history book like that, you probably would do better actually reading it with map nearby. It’s bad, but I also don’t like the aim of being entirely impartial about the facts. That leaves no story, and just a desert of facts. Dry to the point that I would have to force myself to even listen to it! 

To put this in perspective for speed, I started my next book, “A Little history of Philosophy” by Nigel Warburton, and as of today I’m about 50% done it. I’m not sure I would have committed to Chinese history if I had known it would take so long. Maybe Wikipedia will be better for next time, but I do feel like I understand China slightly better. History has never been my strong suit, and I blame French for that.*

VPN Issues

I’m ready to set down and start ripping into finalizing some posts, get them ready to go up. VPN says no. No given reason, it just doesn’t work. Well, glad I did one more than I had to yesterday… Really surfing the wave close lately.

Gym and Pizza

Dan and I hit the gym, then he wants some some Papa Johns afterward, again. I go along since Shimou is still sleeping and I don’t really know what our plan is. He tells me about a charity event he’s been coordinating and how it can be difficult to know who will come through or not. I get that. Even on the small scale of making weekend plans to go places with people, they often bail. I can only imagine the frustration of the bigger scale with more stress.
See that tiny bit in the bottom of
the bottle?

Cats and Tigeresses

Back at the apartment, the VPN is working and allows me to squeeze one out while Shimou is getting ready for us to leave. She tells me about the Chinese phrase of “someone looking like a cat, but is actually a tiger.” She suspected some of my female friends of this situation. In other words, they seem honest, innocent, maybe weak, but are actually quite clever, strong, and conniving. Yes, I must be sooo attractive that all my female friends want to snatch me away! Hah hah… Well, I like to think I'm good enough at reading people (body language, emotions, intent) after studying it, but… well, who doesn’t think they’re good at reading people?

Dragon Boat Park

Aurora invited us to Chaoyang park (if you recall, we met Shimou’s cousin there, Day 84). We missed out on their giant 8-person tandem bicycle/bar vehicle thing where they were drinking all afternoon, but we caught them on their downswing. These friends were from her last job, two from the US, the rest from china. There was a Russian woman there as well, but I think she was dating one of the american guys. 

...There it is on her pants.
She spilled it while drinking directly from the bottle,
them blamed me for offering the drink to her hahah
They were cool, and relaxed. They told me they had spent half their American life in Texas, and the other in California. During the hangout, they pulled out cigarettes stuffed with whacky tobacco and lit up. I asked if anyone notices, suspecting that most Chinese people would have no idea what the smell was because it’s so rare here. They said no one really knows, just assumes they’re smoking foreign cigarettes. Then again, their Chinese is only marginally better than mine. They’ve been here on-off for 4 years.

Tough Texas

One of the guys was quite adamant about the “ass-kicking” culture that he felt annoying people deserved. Fighting it out was a good solution sometimes, “if someone is driving like an asshole, people will just pull them out of their car and beat them at a stop sign. Cops may just say ‘we didn’t know what went on here’ and let it go at that." He was a little drunk at this point, so I’m not entirely sure if he was arguing that they would toughen up, or just simply deserved it for being irritating. Despite this philosophy, both of them were pretty chill guys.

Small Issues

One thing I’ve noticed quite commonly is Chinese women’s self-consciousness around being short. Why! Again, Men don’t care if you’re short! Women care if men are tall, and that’s the only direction this goes! But knowing this, I kept teasing one of the girls there by simply standing next to her, or saying “tài xiǎo de” (too/so small!) and asking how tall she was. As you can see, she is up to my armpit.

My Daughter
After some time hanging out in the park having a few drinks, we went our separate ways.

Scary Women

Shimou tells me about “Scared-of-Wife disease.” Not a literal disease, but more a state of the woman controlling the household, including finances, and the husband is afraid to make her angry. The way she described it, some women aim for this sort of situation, and will try to make it seem that way to their friends to make it seem like they are in control of their relationship. Interesting. I think such an imbalance can work for some people, but definitely wouldn’t be what I’d want. Why would you want such an imbalance of power when it’s supposed to be a mutually beneficial partnership?

Chinese Popcorn

At our massage, I am listening to the masseuse speak to Shimou. I find that I can understand words, and phrases like popcorn in the microwave - sporadically, and in spurts. Another difficulty with their efficient economy of words: there a good bit of interpretation involved.

*I opted to go into “extended french” for grade 7 and 8. My logic at the time is that I wanted to meet people. What an idiot. I then had to endure math, science, history, and, of course, french entirely in french. You can do alright with math and science, but history is a wash. Thus, I barely know Canadian history. What I do know of it appears fairly boring. It’s my least-favorite time period.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]


No comments:

Post a Comment