Wednesday, August 16, 2006

When Monkeys Attack

By 'attack' I mean flee. And by 'monkeys' I mean monkey ladies: ladies with monkeys. I almost got hit by a taxi crossing a small side-street I was so distracted. Some weathered middle-aged lady had a spider monkey on a leash and was walking towards us. She even had a little crop. I'd say it was cute, except I think I saw her using it on the poor thing. I tried to get my camera out in time, and the lady gave me the most stricken look of horror... and shuffle-ran away, monkey clutched to her hip, out of camera-shot. "At least you can say a monkey lady ran from ya," Alistair quipped at the time. So I thought I would indeed make a note of it. Guess I can cross "have a monkey lady run from me" from my 101 Things To Do Before Expiring list.

Ah, China.

Well, today was my the second-to-last day for my TB4 class. Picture inserted above. It's missing two of the girls, but last days are usually quite barren, so I thought I'd get a shot in today instead of tomorrow. Quite a funny picture, with the 3 guys cowering at the back (4 including me, I suppose). Good kids. Tomorrow is mostly a games day. We'll do some work, but mostly games, methinks.

After tomorrow, my mornings will be free for a bit during the week; weekends are another story. I'm taking on one TB2a class for either Alistair or Duncan on Saturday or Sunday, so that will be different. My conversation class is going well. They did a 20 Questions game today to kick things off. I did a big mix-up of animals and people, so one guy had Zhang Yimou and the girl on the other team standing beside him had 'a lion'. I hate that they know Celine Dion here. Grrr... I thought 12,000 kms would be far enough to escape her. Not so, apparently. Others they did were Chow Yun Fat, Norman Bethune (insanely famous over here - Google him, the Chinese love him to pieces), an elephant, a lion, a fox, S.H.E. (Chinese pop trio) and Jou Jia Lun (famous pop star)... and 'our teacher' (it got a lot of laughs). Poor girl. She even asked "Am I a foreigner?" to which there was a resounding "YES" amidst much laughter... the class even said "It's someone from our class...". Oh my.

Not much else happened. Just crazy monkey lady. That made it all worth it, though.

Oh, looking at that picture reminds me of something: women holding hands. It's huge here. It indicates close friendship or comraderie. It's cool walking down the street and seeing like 5 women walking, holding hands, or couples of girls skipping along, hands clasped. Just gives me the ol' warm-'n'-fuzzies, I guess. This ain't exactly a gay-friendly nation, so it's interesting to see things that most Westerners would take for intimacy as simply a showing of closeness between friends. Guys don't do it, suffice it to say. So yeah, that's my Chinese tidbit for the day.

Wait! I've got something else. Something Kelly had written on her blog reminded me of it. Capris. Okay, so they're popular here also (only on women), but guys walk around with shirt 'capris'. They roll the bottoms of their shirts up to their ribs when they're hot (temperature-wise...). Quite the sight seeing an old man scratching his head and carrying on a conversation with someone with his shirt rolled up to his chest.

Tee hee! I'm still chuckling over the weathered monkey lady. Okay, I'll shut up now.


PG said...

Interesting. In Vietnam, men used to hold hand until Americans showed up, at which point they stopped because of the constant harassment by homophobic American soldiers who saw this as a sign of homosexuality.

In some Asian and middle-eastern cultures, heterosexual men kiss each other on the cheek in greeting and hold hand, with no negative connotation within their culture.

Now mind you, Amrican Football players find it completely normal to slap each other on the ass... Life is strange that way.


Wayward Mind said...

Indeed. There's definitely a Western 'presence' here, a kind of looming Idea. It's an interesting place for sure but I can't wait to see a few places beyond Tang Shan. Waiting on the next Beijing outing - that should be a blast. We're likely to do that at the end of this month, or in September.

Later, man! I'm trackin' ya on your blog as best I can.