Martha’s Conquests: Parts 1 & 2

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.

One Response to “Martha’s Conquests: Parts 1 & 2”

  1. paul Says:

    i think you should reconsider naming this site “marfa and susan’s excellent adventures.”

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