August 23, 2007

Chinese in Madrid...
One of the funny stories from Europe happened when I got to Madrid. I could read and understand some Spanish, but I could hardly say anything. So when I went into a little corner store to buy some fruit and juice I was a bit surprised to see a Chinese lady behind the counter. I picked an apple and said, in Mandarin, "how much is this apple?"
The lady went totally slack-jawed and stared at me for a few seconds before saying in Mandarin, "you're speaking Chinese!!?"
"Yes, I'm speaking Chinese. How much is the apple?"
The lady wouldn't let me go (or answer my question despite me asking for the next 20 minutes) because she wanted to know how I'd learned Chinese, what I'd done in China, did I like Chinese food, and all the typical Chinese questions. Her son then came in, and she said to him in Chinese "look! This foreigner speaks Chinese! He scared me when he came into the shop and started speaking to me in Chinese." The son wasn't nearly as interested as she was. The lady eventually told me how much the apple was.


tomato_ice said...

Cool!! are u able to read and write in Mandarin as well?

Stephen said...

Ya, I know around 600 or 700 characters. Still a lot to learn to become fluent, but enough to read a menu!

tomato_ice said...

My friend Graham from England said to me after visited China: "OMG, Chinese are so strange! They eat Chicken's paw!!!!" :)

It's good to read ur blog (sometimes amusing). I'm reading it again and again while uploading pics.