Archive for the 'Beijing' Category

Martha’s Conquests: Parts 1 & 2

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Part One: Martha and Susan go to Beijing

The set-up: Martha and random guy we’ve met on the train are sitting in the hall on those little fold-down seats. Susan is in the compartment beside us laying down on the top bunk, possibly writing this journal entry. A little Chinese boy, about 9 years old, walks up to me and guy whose name I forget, followed closely by his mother.

Boy: Hello, what is your name?

Mars: My name is Martha. What’s your name.

B: My name is (something I couldn’t pronounce).

M: Oh, well you speak very good English.

B: Sex you very much.

It’s at this point that Susan looks down to see what’s going on, and nearly breaks out laughing.

B: Where are you from?

M: I am from Canada.

B: Oh! (Pause) Can I sing you a Chinese song?

M: Yes, that would be nice.

Boy starts singing. Guy beside me breaks out into a huge smile. Susan has to hide because she’s laughing so hard. The ENITRE train is now looking down the aisle at us and smiling. The kids mother is standing directly behind him this whole time twisting the hair at the back of the kids head to hurry him along, but he’s having none of it. He just keeps swatting her hand away, and continues his singing for a full 5 minutes.

The song ends:

M: That was very nice. Thank you. What was is about?

B: <Thinks for a second.> Little star. (Pause). Would you like to come to my house?

M: Where do you live? Is it in Beijing?

B: No, it’s (somewhere I couldn’t pronounce).

M: Sorry, I can’t. I’m travelling to Beijing with my sister.

B: Oh, ok. It was nice to meet you Marfa.

M: It was nice to meet you too. Thank you for the song.

Boy leaves by retreating backwards down the aisle, past everyone who’s been watching, making kung fu moves the whole way.

Part 2: “Trouble”

So it’s our second-last night in Beijing, and the last night for a few others at the hostel. So we decide to go out. Sue and I, a couple of the Aussie’s, Simon (owner of the hostel), and Mr. Tom, the Chinese guy who has a bit of an art shop set up at the front of the hostel. Simon’s goal for the night is to get Mr. Tom ridiculously drunk. Which, it turns out is pretty easy to do.

We go out to an ex-pat bar (all the cheap ones have recently been torn down), and I’m at one end of the table with Sue, Brad, Simon, and Mr. Tom. Part way into Mr. Tom’s first pint he starts looking at me funny. He asks me my name, and I say “Martha”. He couldn’t really pronounce it, so I told him that “Mafa” would be find. Simon repeats it, then him and Brad break out laughing. Apparently “Mafa” means “Trouble” in Mandarin.

By Mr. Tom’s second pint I am “clever” and “cute” (Simon having now taught Mr. Tom all these words), and I should stay in China. After a while Mr. Tom disappears. I go to the washroom, and one of the stalls in the womens bathroom is shut. I go a while later, and it’s still shut. After a while people start wondering where Tom’s got to. So I go back to the washroom and knock on the closed stall - it’s Tom. When we’re ready to leave Simon goes to collect a very drunk Mr. Tom from the women’s washroom, and Mr. Tom keeps moaning “Trouble, Trouble” from time to time. Sue, Simon, Tom and I catch a cab back. The original plan is that we drop Simon off at his place, and Sue and I take Tom back to the hostel. But when the cab stops Tom pukes outside the cab again, so Simon continues home with us to take care of Mr. Tom. I think one of the Aussie’s got a great shot of Tom on the floor of the hostel, puke on the floor beside him, and Simon standing beside him laughing.

It was a fun night.

Steals and Deals in the Beijing Silk Market

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

So today we went to the most craziest market I have been to so far… the silk market. It looks harmless from the outside - it’s just a large building. But once you get in the sales people go nuts yelling at you to come in and see their stuff and if you don’t listen they will just grab your arm and pull you in. It’s true. We saw this 6′ white guy get dragged into a booth by a very small, but very strong little chinese woman (martha also had a similar experience but I pulled back harder and won).

Some of the deals we got were on DVDs - Mary and Lucy you will be happy to know we bought ourselves each a copy of veronica mars- the best part is that on the cover her head is imposed over a stripper type body which is totally funny looking haha.

other dvds, Narnia, Amelie, Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, bowling for columbine, king kong, wedding crashers, and coach carter. - So mom and dad dont buy these.

Steals were on the two pearl necklaces and an earring set for around $8.00 canadian and they are very nice, real and pretty. Martha also got a good deal on pearl earrings to match the necklace she has back at home. Some friends also got shoes for around $8.00 and also raw silk for $25 enough to make a very nice dress.

What a great place for deals, but man are they pushy and over-charge by like 1000%. They will say like, ‘ok i give you a good price….$420..just for you friend’ and then we give them our price of $50, usually get it for around there (this is in chinese yuan currancy).

Time to hit up the dumpling place for dinner - Tomorrow is the long train ride back to HK, another sleepover party with 4 random chinese people in a space the size of a closet.

peace out,

SL & ML (aka “Trouble”… but that’s another story)

Great Wall- The Secret Wall

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Beijing is cold- today it is snowing, which is very pretty. The hostel that we are staying at is very nice, we are in a 4 person dorm room which is working out well. The hostel is like a 5 min walk to Tiananmen Square and there are street markets along the way- which is where i got an awesome down-filled jacket for$15 Can- awesome steal.

China is a great place for getting deals so far I am loving the shopping- but still no digital I am on a mission for the best price.

So, yesterday we went on a tour of the Great Wall of China- our tour guide spoke no english and was an excellent climber compared to the rest of us. We drove 2 hours to a small village where we meet and family and our guide who took us along the Great Wall- this was a not a novice walk as we were climbing mountain cliffs and sliding down steep hills. the view was AMAZING- everyone must experience this once in their life times.

Out little Chinese guide lead us across a not so frozen part of the water where martha, the guide, and an australian fraser all broke through the ice and were up to their ankles in water- ** The guide thought this was freaking funny and couldn’t stop laughing at martha and fraser - haha.

the hike lasted about 4 hours of mountain climbing, climbing the guard towers, and walking on the frozen river- not a soul in sight. just us and the mountain.

We walked back to the families house where they cooked us and amazing lunch with 6 or 7 different dishes. They didn’t speak english but wanted to know where everyone was from, they LOVED the digital cameras - seeing themselves in the pictures.


time is up and we have to get going- we are both having a great time.

Till next time, Suz/Mars