The China Logs: Chinglish

A week into our odyssey and I am settling in at last. The past week has been a whirlwind of activity and confusion and excitement and frustration and highs and lows and triumphs and cock-ups. I got to enjoy Shanghai before we left on Monday afternoon – I think my initial shake-up was simply culture shock to be honest. We had a good few days there sightseeing and getting used to the Chinese way of things.

“Chinglish” is the term for the Chinese way of translating things into English with interesting results. Sometimes you can understand the jist; sometimes it is completely unreachable.

  1. Take-away Breakfast translates to Breakfast Outside Send.
  2. Sign at Datong city taxi stand: “The Taxi Stands”.
  3. Proclamation outside Beijing central China Post depot: “Post is Profession. Post Bureau is Home. Mail is Life. On-time Delivery is Gold.”
  4. Flyer inside a Beijing restaurant menu: “Print the degree throw around flat cake. (A form plays now).” Answers on a postcard please…
  5. Notice on restaurant in Shanghai market: “Carry Forward Diet Civilization!”. (I think I get what they want to say)
  6. Lots of words seem to have their “l”s and “r”s mixed up: my favourite was on a cocktail list in our Shanghai hotel where a Glasshopper cocktail was on the list (I really really hope it was genuine and not ironic!) (they also had Chivas Legal listed so I guess they were genuine)

Interesting Things About China Part 1

  1. People wear brushed cotton pyjamas as outer wear in the streets.I mean nice fluffy ones with balloons or teddies or nice paisley patterns on them. One gentleman taking the air in a park on Sunday morning had teamed his blue pyjama top with some nice casual trousers for a new look.
  2. Anything that can be eaten can be put on a skewer and cooked over charcoal: we have seen frog’s legs, octopus, lamb, chicken, a whole small bird on a stick (I bet it was NOT chicken), and I swear what Orlando was attempting to buy on a street corner last night was dog.
  3. Police cars drive around with their blues and reds flashing (no sirens) at all times, just so you know they are really cool and important. Police on bicycles have no sirens or lights, but cycle through crowds at speed enthusiastically shouting “LAOW LAOW LAOW”(roughly translates as “excuse me excuse me excuse me!”) and that seems to work fine. Somebody might pass this on to the bicycle ambulance team as a cost-saving proposal.

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