Life in China 2017: A Picture a Day, July 19 – When we were out a couple of days ago, I saw this zebra sign at a bus stop, and although it seems to be a strange sign, I was excited that I knew exactly what it meant! (It’s nice when things here make sense!) I’ve posted before about the civil safety notices you see all the time: on signs, buses, etc. Well, this is a safety notice concerning crosswalks. In Chinese, a crosswalk is called a “Banma xian” which literally translates to “zebra line”! So as soon as I saw the “banma,” literally “stripe horse”, or zebra…. I knew it was about crossing streets safely :-) If you look at a crosswalk, you can easily see why they call it a zebra crossing. It’s just in our Western minds we think a zebra crossing is a place for zebras to cross, and there are no zebras in China, especially ones waiting to cross the street!! Crosswalks can also be called “rénxínghéngdào xiàn” which translates more as “pedestrian crossing.”
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, September 19 – The Chinese government continues to try to improve the image of the general Chinese population. There are civility and patriotic signs in most public places where we go: along the streets, at bus stops and on buses, at metro stations and on the metros, in parks, and also sometimes in businesses also. Most just have words: prosperous and strong, democracy, civil, harmonious, freedom, equality, fair, patriotic, dedication to your work, honesty, friendliness, etc. There is so much I could write about this, but I’m just going to keep it simple!
The pictures and approximate translations (if different from the basic words above) are : Top – Large sign at the park, Left middle – Placard on table at restaurant – (Don’t leave food, you are encouraged to not order excessive amounts and to take leftovers with you), Right Middle – Large sign in parking area, (Sunflower towards the sun, Communist Party toward the People) Left bottom – Large sign on building, Center bottom – Monitor on bus – (Country is Family), Right bottom – Banners along the Songshan Lake walkway. www.myownchinesebrocade.com
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, August 7 – I am thankful when “Caution” signs in China have English translations, but I also enjoy seeing the fun translations :-) Caution is小心; the two characters are “xiăo xīn” or literally “ small heart,” but it means “pay attention” or “be careful.” Caution signs must be a difficult thing to translate because they frequently have interesting Chinglish translations. A typical warning sign you see says “Slip Carefully.” These ones pictured were a little different. The top one is a picture my husband took inside of a restaurant he often goes to near his work, so, although sometimes “Be Careful of Landslide” may be correct, and even neccessary, it’s not the case with this sign. It should read “Caution: Slippery Floor.” The second is one my daughter took at the zoo. It should read “Be Careful: Watch Your Step” or “Be Careful not to fall on the stairs.” I guess these are times that those universal little icons on signs come in handy!
Life in China 2016: A Picture A Day, June 27 – This sign was on the side of an escalator. Leah said it actually reads closer to “Be cautious of running into me” …. Again, it makes me wonder what I end up saying in Chinese when I leave out the little words I don’t know! C
Another fun sign at the supermarket, hanging over the frozen food section.... my personal interpreter (my daughter Leah :-) says that the Chinese characters say "Sliced Fish".
The durian, called “King of the Fruits” in southeast Asia, is a very “unique” fruit! It is large, like the jackfruit I wrote about on April 16, but, it has spikes, and most notably…it has a very distinct, strong smell, which most people consider BAD! So bad, that in many places it is banned from public transportation and hotels (the sign in the picture was posted in a Singapore metro station)! Personally, I think the taste is kind of good, … if you can get past the smell, and sometimes it leaves a weird after taste. I learned the hard way that when you buy it, you need to eat it right away….. otherwise your refrigerator or house will smell for days! Because of the large size, supermarkets will often open one and sell it packaged in smaller amounts. Inside of the segments, it has a very creamy texture, with large seeds, which are supposed to be edible if cooked, although I haven’t tried that. You can find all kinds of durian flavored foods here, that can be a whole separate post someday! It is native to southeast Asia, and there are nine edible species. Here’s a fun video of some people tasting durian for the first time :-) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og5e6wLIU18
The bigger supermarket I go to about once a week in the town next to us is a part of a chain from Taiwan called RT Mart, or Da Run Fa 大潤發. Leah was with me today, so I asked her to help me get a member card. I thought the list of “Free Services” would be interesting to share. It is fairly typical for a large Chinese supermarket. I’ll explain the items that my American friends may not understand J
2. Free Shopping Shuttle Buses – Buses have routes stopping at the local residential areas, unfortunately, the buses don’t come to where we are now.
3. A large amount of people come by bus, scooter, bicycle or walking, so they may have other items from shopping. Large supermarkets seem to always offer free lockers and you usually have to store your things in them (I assume partially to reduce the chance of shoplifting). Unless you are a foreigner, then I guess because of the communication issue, they usually let you go!
4. Periodic DM is a text message.
6. Free Leasing of shopping basket, shopping bag, umbrella and raincoat. – Leah saw at our local Spar store that you can pay 20rmb deposit to lease an umbrella for 3 days, so I’m sure the offer here is similar. If you need a plastic bag in a supermarket in China, you must buy it.
7. Free straw, scoop and toilet paper – straw and spoon (scoop) for foods you will drink and eat right away. Free toilet paper (most public restrooms in China do not supply this, but stores often do).
9. Free packing for bowels??? (this is bowls/dishes) and bottled wine, most likely representative of breakable items.
10. Free paging (if you lose someone in the store), money change (getting change if you need it) and gift wrapping.
Not a bad list of free services!
These are the "Fire Hydrant" signs in our building :-) There is one just outside our apartment door and another in the lobby that I pass every time I go out. I always picture Scooby Doo saying “Rire Hydrant”! It’s my guaranteed daily smile :-) I’m sure that the Chinese factory workers who make these signs don’t know any English, so, just as we think Chinese is so hard…English is just as difficult to them. As we might confuse two similar Chinese characters, I guess “F” and “R” are confusing to them!
Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, Feb 14 - Today we went for a 7.5 mile ride by the lake! Farther than we have gone before, so we saw some new areas. China has been cracking down on people hunting songbirds, so I was glad to see this sign posted, and it gave us a good chuckle too :-) someone made a good effort…and we did get the point! Seeing how in 2.5 hrs, we only saw one other foreigner, and he was with a Chinese girl, I guess we should be thankful they even have it in English!