October 13, 2006

Going Postal...
One thing that makes China interesting, is that everyday things in Canada end up being adventures in China. Let's take buying stamps for an international letter for example.
On Monday I decided to buy some stamps to mail two letters to Canada. I figured this would be relatively easy since I had a standard sized letter, and I wrote the address in English with the Chinese characters for Canada beside it. I walked to the China Post branch closest to my school, in the outskirts of the city, figuring they would be able to help me. I was probably the first foreigner ever to step foot in there, despite the large poster on the wall telling people how to correctly address a letter to their friend in Kansas (no joke).
When the guy saw that the letter was going to Canada, he had to call someone at the main office. Then he weighed the letter, and flipped through a book looking for something. He said he only had slow mail, so I asked how long it would take to get to Canada. He didn't know so he called somebody at the main office. After mumbling something, and not giving me an answer, I asked again. Normally I don't have so much trouble understanding people -I think he was speaking the local dialect because all of his words sounded funny. After calling the main branch a third time, a couple came in who could speak some English. It turned out I had to go to a larger China Post branch, since he didn't have enough stamps!
Tuesday morning I went to what I thought was a branch of China Post, but which turned out to be China Post Savings (same logo and colours). The lady told me to go down the street a bit, and sure enough a few doors down was another China Post. The only problem is that this branch contained wedding photos that were being put up on the wall. I guess it had recently been sold, but the sign hadn't been removed yet. The lady pointed me towards another branch of China Post, beside the train station.
Bingo! I was able to understand the Mandarin, they had large enough stamps to send my letter abroad, and they stamped it with 'Par Avion'. The lady could even tell me that it should take 8-10 days to get there. Now I just have to wait to see if they get there or not...


Mariah said...

hey, could I please let me know how you made the link to other websites from you blog?

Like the cute Chinese character,which changes everyday automatically, the other websites' links?

Dana said...

Aren't those adventures exciting though. Yes, it can get frustrating, but it's what makes living and working in a foreign country so cool!

Stephen said...

It is the little things that make it interesting, as long as you look at it like an adventure.
Mariah, as for the other links, you have to go into your Blogger template. If you go to the Zhongwen.com website, they'll give you the HTML code that you need to paste into the template for it to work. Send me an email if you want more detailed instructions!

Mariah said...

k, I will try it myself first.
And then email you.