Monday, December 15, 2008

Staring is caring

I traveled most of southwest china with my friend Katja, who lives in Kunming. Katja is german, so her skin color is white.

Because the locals thought I was Chinese and I was with a white woman, they stared at us all the time, everywhere we went. I think mostly it was in awe of me. "Woah did you see that guy? He's got a white girl. How did he do that?"

We'd see people breaking their necks trying to catch a glimpse as we walked by. We'd hear people talking about us at food tables nearby (fortunately Katja knows some Mandarin). Some people would be shocked that Katja could use chopsticks. There was apparently no shame in blatant staring. I guess it was for a "positive" reason anyway. I mean, I'd captured a white girl and made her follow me around, so wow I must be truly amazing. Duh! Haha

I think the most shocking thing was that when we talked to anyone Chinese, Katja would speak to them in Mandarin and I would keep my mouth shut, to possibly reduce the foreigner prices and also because I can't speak Mandarin anyway. I think that part blew their minds. If we walked into a store the employee would approach me first (because I look like the host), but Katja would answer and it would create a puzzled look on their faces. Haha it was seriously great.

Because Katja's chinese is not perfect, if they misunderstood her they would automatically look at me and ask me something or make some kind of motion that they wanted me to clarify. It was humorous watching them turn their head and stare at me hoping I would talk. I would just smile.

Eventually Katja thought up a good story to explain to them when they asked: She was studying mandarin as my student and I was a hardass teacher so I would make her speak in public without helping her.


Blogger Ben said...

awesome story and way a go capturing a white girl...hahaha

December 16, 2008 at 11:04 AM  

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