Lawrence Hamilton is shoved into his place in China.
China does not care about me.
I have been in Kaifeng, China for 8 days now. This is my third trip to China and I am still very much a novice. One thing I do know for sure is that China does not care about me. It is a big country and a strong culture. It will go on whether I like it or not, whether I am here or not, whether I write a blog post about it or not.
There is a night market near the university where I work and a friendly Hue Muslim man who sells pijou (beer) and an offering of kebabs, dumplings and other assorted grilled items. Like most foreigners I know next to nothing of Chinese.
“I am a teacher”
After a day of teaching and writing, the dawn shifted into the evening and it was time for some dumplings.
After my dinner and beer, I went to pay. The chef spouted off my numbers and made those curious hand gestures that many foreigners in the middle kingdom know so well. 16 yuan for dumplings and beer or about $2.50…not bad I thought. I handed over the notes as a few men behind me lined up and started placing orders. My Muslim chef started repeating the hand gestures furiously and saying the number in Mandarin over and over. After maybe 30 seconds of incomprehension, he shoved me. Not hard, but a solid knock to show his frustration. There were customers behind me, business is rough and I was wasting his time. It then clicked in my head, 18. I forked over two more wrinkled notes and walked on.
As I left he hollered in the voice of small girl “Bye-Bye” as three other men started to laugh. I could read between the lines, have fun in this country and enjoy your English, (insert rude name).
It is hard not to feel aggrieved when you are shoved. It is easy to say China is rude and intolerable. However it is a country on the move and in that brief instance I was standing in the way. With a hundred food carts fighting for business, that guy didn’t have time for an overpaid English speaking teacher with minimal grasp of the native tongue.
Maybe it isn’t that China doesn’t care about me…China won’t wait for me.
About the Author: Lawrence Hamilton
Lawrence Hamilton is a freelance journalist focusing on South Asian security situations and border disputes. Lawrence Hamilton has written 52 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
Lawrence Hamilton is currently in: Dunedin, NZ