Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lost in Translation

As you might imagine, I was a bit tired when I arrived in Beijing. But I delayed my initial nap and mustered up enough energy to leave Connie's apartment and buy some supplies (including a super-cool backpack) at Wal-Mart.

Upon my return "home", however, I think that my lack of sleep caught up to me. You see Connie lives in what looks like (is?) Communist-era housing.

Not surprisingly, there are other apartment buildings in the area that look just like hers! So when I got back to the complex on my first night in Beijing, I walked into one of them. Workers were doing some welding on one of the elevators, something that I hadn't noticed earlier, but I thought little of it. The second elevator was taking too long to arrive, so I foolishly decided to walk to the 13th floor (where Connie lives). I looked around for a bit, went where I thought her place was, and I saw a screen in front of the door...something was not right. Now, before I go any further, you have to understand that besides being fresh off of a 13-hour flight, I had to deal with the fact that the lights in the hallways in the building constantly turned off to save energy, and I had to clap them back on. It was a bit of harrowing experience.

At this point, I was getting a little concerned, so I went back towards the one working elevator. I buzzed for it and when it opened, a woman was standing inside. I must have looked very much like a "Zhungguoren" (Chinese person) at that moment because she immediately started talking to me rapidly in Chinese. I said "bu zhidao" (I don't know) a few times and tried to speak to her in English, but it was hopeless. Then I pointed at 13, because Connie lives on that floor, and she continued to speak to me in Chinese and point at every other button. That's when it struck me and I remembered that the buttons in this elevator were different from Connie's elevator! For some reason, I didn't notice the completely different lobbies...Anyway, at this point I took the elevator down with her while she continued to talk to me (I'd love to know exactly what she was saying), and then I left with my head down and dropped a "xie xie" (thank you) on her. Turns out of course, that Connie lives the next building over.


  1. So basically the building you were in was like the ALTERNATE 1985. Sick. Please keep blogging from China. More Squash content.

  2. Sick story, Rich. I love this stuff, so honest, so terse.