a few random thots

March 31st, 2008

Just a few random thots from this morning’s trip out to ErWai:

  • You know the courtroom scene near the beginning of Police Story where the defence lawyer is picking holes in Jackie Chan’s testimony by pointing out how many buses were scheduled to pass the dye factory/slum they smashed up, and Jackie Chan retorts “Haven’t you ever waited half an hour for a bus?” Yeah, that was the start of my morning. Waiting half an hour for a bus, I mean, not a heated, sarcastic back-and-forth between a defence lawyer and a prosecution witness. Well, it seemed like it took half an hour for the bloody 649 to show up. Then, of course, we got stuck in traffic jams at the Baiziwan bottle-neck, then again at Sihui… Managed to get there just after ten, though, so not too bad. But the wait… I remember back when the 649 was the 928支1, and there were so many of them that was the bus I usually took up to Soho. Then they seemed to start “losing” buses somehow, then it became the 649, then…. Argh, well, got there soon enough, anyway.
  • I never managed to find a reason to respect ErWai as a university. Seeing the teaching materials the English Department handed out to lzh’s class took care of that. But ErWai really does have a very nice campus. It’s so quiet and peaceful and clean. Clean, but you’re advised to wear a hat you don’t mind getting dirty, those trees are full of birds, and the state of the footpaths shows just how productive those birds can be. But yeah, it’s a really nice campus, small, but very well appointed.
  • I was weirdly nervous when I found the office to register for the HSK, I don’t know why. But it was really easy. Still, it’s not a good idea to forget how to write your Chinese name when you’re registering for a Chinese proficiency test…. I moved on to other parts of the form and went back to the name thing when my brain started cooperating again. Kinda strange, considering the only part of the form you fill out in any language other than Chinese is the English name field, and no other part of the form gave me any trouble. Doesn’t matter, I managed to get 王博 written there well enough for the people in the office to recognise what it’s supposed to be.
  • Dammit! They didn’t let me choose between the old and new versions of the HSK! I have no idea which one it’ll be! Oh well, I’ll just have to prepare as best I can. Also, I don’t recall ever being asked which level I was registering for…. I hope I’m down for the intermediate level…. I will not be happy if I get the Advanced test.
  • Hehe, they thought I was a student! I guess I dress like a student most of the time, and I’m still not old enough to really stand out from the others. Still, I did feel a little awkward filling in one form and writing ’31’ in the age field when everybody on the form above me was in their early 20s. When I first arrived in China, those kids were just starting high school at most, and now I’m sitting an exam with them….. I’m getting old…..
  • I can’t sprint fast enough. Coming out of ErWai I saw a bus at the bus stop. I thought, yeah, knowing my luck that’ll be the 649. No, it was a 728, so that’s ok. Then the 728 pulled away, and what was behind it? A 649. Shit! Sprint! The bus pulled away just before I got to the bus stop, but the driver was oh so conveniently looking the other way and didn’t see me try to flag him down. Wound up getting the next 728 into Bawangfen then catching the next bus heading south from there. We caught up with that 649 at Pingleyuan, only two stops out from home, so I guess it wouldn’t’ve made any difference if I’d sprinted faster or managed to flag the bus down.
  • On the bus south from Bawangfen, I was in the back row of seats. A guy at the other end of the row got a phone call. His part of the conversation went “我在外面玩… 马上就到家了。” Except the 马上 sounded more like mǎhàr than mǎshàng. One for Beijing Sounds? Yeah, ‘cept I didn’t get a recording, sorry.
  • The Broadcasting Institute has changed its name from 广播学院 to 转媒学院.
  • Yesterday and today I saw new trains on the subway line 1. They look pretty awesome, all futuristicky and sci-fi-ish. Well, like cool new subway trains, at least.
  • I was a bit reluctant to register for the HSK. Registration is like finally facing up to an impending problem that you’ve been doing your best to ignore in the hope that it’ll miraculously go away even though you know you have no choice but to face it, like you’ve been sticking your fingers in your ears and closing your eyes and chanting “Nananana!” as a tsunami roars up onto the beach. But it felt good walking out with my registration certificate and the guy’s clear directions about what to bring and where to go on the day fresh in my mind, almost like a relief, like opening your eyes to see that the tsunami was just a big wave which broke on the breakwater and did no more damage than getting you a little wet. I know, way overly melodramatic for simple registration for an exam, I’m sorry.

Well, that’s about all.

2 Responses to “a few random thots”

  1. syz Says:

    Followup thots
    1. I like “thots” — might adopt it
    2. No recorder?! What kind of a laowai are you, anyway? (Oh, I guess one that doesn’t go around surreptitiously recording conversations). The mahar sound would be a good one, tho. In a single words you get two of my favorite Beijingisms: the R, of course, and leaving out the /sh/. Maybe as penance for not getting the recording you could offer up a recording of yourself in conversation for the next issue of Zhonglish on Beijing Sounds. After the HSK, of course. Good luck!

  2. wangbo Says:

    1. “Thots” is not my invention. It’s been floating around so long I just assumed it was in the public domain. So go ahead and use it.
    2.I’m not so sure about recording myself, the thought kinda freaks me out. But you can try persuading me again some time after April 27.

    And thanks!