In China, most workers take a ‘siesta’ after lunch (I thought it was only the Spanish, but no) – it is called wǔ jiào and they really have cots here at work on which they sleep for an hour after lunch! Then they troop back in here and work with us. Not fair! I want some wǔ jiào too!
Green tea is very popular among my Chinese colleagues here at work.
The mugs have lids on, to keep the tea hot a little longer.
Back at the apartment, Monday at work behind me. Today I saw an SAP screen in Chinese alongside the English version. The English is flawlessly lucid – and the Chinese unfathomably foreign! 🙂 Here is how Chinese characters are entered into any system : a Chinese computer keyboard is very close to a Western style keyboard, but the user types in syllables or English phonetic equivalents of Chinese characters. Embedded software interprets the keystrokes and pops the Chinese character into the application. Even more fascinating is to see a Chinese person actually writing these squiggly spidery characters on a piece of paper or on the whiteboard. How did you ever learn to do that? I wanted to ask them. (Answer: 15 years of education, at home and in school).
I’m learning a little bit more about the written Chinese language, a language of pictographs. Many basic Chinese characters are in fact, highly stylized pictures of what they present.
Around 9 out of 10 characters is a combination of a ‘meaning’ element and a ‘sound’ element.
A contemporary Chinese person might know and use between 6,000 and 8,000 characters – but one can get by with as few as 2,000 or 3,000.
The two characters 入口 rù kǒu on the sign below stand for ‘entrance’. A depiction of a person that goes through a door, opening, gate.
‘Exit’ looks like this 出口 chū kǒu. That first character is a foot, coming out from an enclosure! The foot is leaving through a door, or gate.
Well – what can I say? I was Alice, and Walmart was a wonderland of Chinese culture and department store marketing of food, houseware, electronics and clothing. There we were, 15 of us dropped off with a little bus, looking for household items and food for our apartments in Dameisha. And did we load up that bus!
Walmart being what it is, the choices were cheap and enormous – and of course, they had Kraft branded food products and Coke & Pepsi, but there were still some surprises. Dinner plates were hard to find. Chinese food is served up in bowls. T-shirts were not plentiful at all.
The food was the most fascinating, from the ‘wet area’ where one could catch one’s own super-fresh seafood (yes, right there in the store, the way the staff did at the restaurant the other night), to teas of all kinds, milk tea, a limited selection of good coffee, candy, but relatively few chocolate products, noodles of all kinds, root vegetables, fresh ginger, eggplant and durian.
.. so we’re getting out of the office! Woo hoo !
There are plans afoot to visit Walmart in the city of Shenzhen on Saturday, so that we can get pots and pans, knives, forks, extra towels & what have yous. My internet access at the apartment is not up and running yet, nor is the central heating working.
We have made a start to our project, though; met dozens of colleagues and client team members, and it was not a bad week at all.