This category contains 4 posts


It took a lot just to type it, and now I’m almost afraid how much time I would have to spend in the airports… Ouch… 5 flights in 10 days… Did I overextend myself? Will see… Does anyone have any recommendations or friends I could call up in Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong for tips or emergency? It all … Continue reading

Si Shi Shi Si Shi

This tongue-twister actually means something that’s hard to contest indeed: “40 is 40” (сы шы шы сы шы). Chinese have brains of supercomputers: there’s a fairy-tale of some kind that’s composed entirely of these two syllables (okay, in different tones), and Chinese claim that all native speakers can easily understand what every one of those sounds means just from its context. … Continue reading

Getting on a train… FAILED

From my limited experience, trains leave on time. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing: we missed the train yesterday by 2 minutes. 2 hours in lines and running all around 北京西站 (the Beijing West station), and we had another bunch for… tomorrow same time. So, we lost a day out of 2.5 … Continue reading

Hitting the road for Qing Ming festival

Tue is a Qing-Ming tomb sweeping holiday. The story behind is quite bloody, as many other Chinese epics. Anyway, Monday traded places with Saturday, and so we’ll have a 3-day holiday. My friends and I are going to see some of the ancient places – Shao Lin monastery (yes, that one, where Kung Foo started) and Longmen … Continue reading

Chinese names

Are quite fascinating. First, they all have a meaning. This is what you get when your culture is several thousands years old and hasn’t been influenced too much by any others. Family names are almost exclusively 1-character and have very little diversity and 80% of China carries 20% of them. Family names are revered and … Continue reading

Chinese poems

If you know just Mandarin, you cannot fully appreciate the beauty of Chinese poetry. All rules for poems refer to pronunciation in one of the traditional (read: Cantonese) languages, which have 8 tones. Remember, all Chinese is written the same way, so you can read and pronounce it in any of the dialects you fancy. … Continue reading

Say hello to a foreigner

When you go through villages, even touristy ones, you become a star as soon as you turn into backyards. Kids practice their “hello” (hey, I didn’t know that much Chinese until I was 29) and their parents, as you pass by, tease their offsprings “do you want to say hello to a foreigner”? Yes, whether … Continue reading