Monday, April 23, 2007

Fall Behind, Left Behind

For the entire length of my time in China I have been uttering one phrase over and over again. Whenever we are travelling in a group and someone stops to shop/take pictures and holds up the group I have been saying "Fall behind, left behind". Well on Saturday, I understood the meaning of that phrase.

Saturday night in Yangzhou we went out to this spectacular show. I don't really know how to describe it other than by saying that it was on a water stage and it included some of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen. There was a call and answer love song between people waving massive torches, a row of 15 or so plastic tarps that people did an elaborate boat dance, a stage built on the water for people to walk on while wearing glowing suits (it seriously looked like a deranged techno video), a woman dancing on what looked like the moon, and a stripping scene. Ohhh and it was directed by the same guy who will direct the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics.

After the show I was still trying to process all of the stimulus and I ended up losing out on my group. I did the logical thing and went back the way that we came to look for the bus and the rest of my group. Silly me, thinking that logic will apply in this country.

I get to the front gates and see nobody. I wonder around for a bit and still see nobody that I know. I realize that they probably went out the side gate so I attempt to run back through the park but somebody tells me that all of the buses have left. I shrug and go back to the front gate and plan on walking back to the hotel, remembering that it wasn't that far of a trip.

After a day of walking I realize that maybe I should seek alternative transportation. Lucky for me I notice a motorized rickshaw and decide that maybe that would be a better bet. I ask the driver how much and he tells me 10 Yuan. I look and say that I would sooner walk (a wonderful bargaining technique in this country is to appear completely disinterested) and then he yells out six. I decide to take him up on the offer and get in the back. He says something in Chinese to his friends and they all have a good laugh.

After driving off for a bit he pulls over, looks back at me and says "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" and my heart drops a bit. I look at him confused and just say "West Street", which is close enough to the hotel I was staying at. He takes his left hand and puts his index finger to his thumb making a circle, and then takes his two fingers on his right hand and begins ramming them through the circle and makes some grunting noise and then says "10 Yuan". I realize two important things at this point. First off, some expressions are universal, and secondly he didn't say six, oh no, he said sex. No wonder he was laughing with his friends.

Lucky for me, I happen to know how to say no in Chinese which I say repeatedly and keep saying West Street. He starts to drive again but slows down as we pass a few run down buildings, which I assume to be brothels, where he makes the gesture again and says "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" some more.

After what seemed like forever we get to our hotel, I tell him to stop right here. I give him a 10 Yuan note and run hearing him yell "Massag-ie, Massag-ie" in the background.

I thankfully arrive back at my hotel to find our group leader and my profs who had just gone back to look for me. They say that they were not too worried about me, and said that if there was anyone who it would be ok to loose it would be me. I'm not sure if that was a compliment or not.

Olive, the professor with us, looks at me and says "Fall behind, left behind".

Until next time,



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