First thing I want to do is introduce everyone to one of my closest friends out here, Tim.
Tim has grown up in China, and he works at the club that I play at. He has expressed a serious interest in learning English, and I have seen his dedication to study. We have what is called a language exchange going on, where he helps me with Chinese, and I help him with English. What this actually equates to is both of us wandering around Beijing together not understanding each other for hours on end. He is a great guy and has helped me on many occasions. He is totally funny, and we spend more time teaching each other things that are "impolite" than useful language lessons.
For the first six weeks I was living in China, I would ask people if I can borrow a pen and they would give me the weirdest look before handing over the writing utensil. Tim is the guy that told me that I was mispronouncing the word for 'Pen' and instead was saying a slang word for "Female Genitalia". Whoops. "Excuse me Miss, do you have a P*&&$?" For this little bit of advice, I owe a life debt to Tim. For it would not have been long until I received a serious ass whooping if I did not start pronouncing 'bi' with the down up tone instead of the straight and high tone.
I shot this video of an interaction Tim and I had so that you guys can all see what our friendship is like. He claims to be so wise because he is from the same home town as Confucius.
Then these are my two other friends, Katrina and Sven. We hang out often here, wandering around the Hutongs or going out to eat or whatever.
|Katrina on the Left, Sven on the Right. There Chinese|
names are difficult to pronounce.
Traditional breakfast food, this was a meal of cow stomach, what seemed to be onion rings with out the onion, and the most foul tasting soup I have ever had in my life. It is made with fermented tofu, so basically you take the stinky tofu and blend it into this paste. But anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to back down on any food challenges...
They thought that I couldn't do it but I drank the entire bowl of soup no problem. (It was awful, reminded me of a high school locker room after weights class), ate the whole plate of cow stomach and actually enjoyed the onion-less onion rings. And what do you know? I grew three inches afterwards! I am 6'6 now!
|Traditional Beijing breakfast comes with a Coca-Cola. For real. Can you imagine that?|
Now I will write about last nights adventure.
Deybis, Katrina and I were walking in the snow to a place called the LAN club, where we were going to meet one of our mega fans Sladi, who works as a manager for BMW here. She is returning to Germany so she was having a going away party and we were all going to watch the "Jackson Twins", two twin brothers we know that sing R&B and dance classic hits here in town and around the whole world.
We were about ten minutes into our walk when I spy this:
So we go over to check this person out, and they are convulsing on the ground in the snow, and it looked like they had been there for a while.
Hello? Ni hao? Nothing. As I got close I could see it was a man, and I was basically yelling at him two feet away and I was not getting any response.
Should I shake him? Me and Deybis discussed, but who knows if he was hurt and shaking him would cause more of a problem, plus I am in China and outside of introducing myself, telling people I am American, asking where ________ is and ordering beer, I cannot talk to anyone.
What do we do? We would not feel okay leaving this person here, they would probably die. It was really really cold out. We asked Katrina what your supposed to do in this type of situation. In the US, no problem, you call the cops or the ambulance and people would come help. We were on a pretty popular road though, and there are quite a few people wandering past but everyone just kind of looked the other way. She never had called the Chinese police before, the number is 110. We asked her if she would do it and at least tell them to come grab this person. She called and talked to them for ten minutes and told them where we were. They asked us to stay with the person but not to touch them and wait for the police.
One hour later after standing in the freezing snow a police car with its lights flashing slowly drove past. I ran out to the road to wave them down and they just looked, waved back, and drove off down the block.
WHAT?! Is that the kind of emergency help you get here? When you hail a cop car for help they just look at you and drive away?
Katrina ran down the street after the car, they turned right on the next block. Turns out that the police station was within 200 m. of the exact spot we were standing! She went to them and asked them to come help and they would not, instead they gave her a phone number to call for assistance. The unconscious person was still shaking and twitching on the ground.
Fuming, Katrina called the new phone number. A taxi driver drove up to us and noticed our situation and let us sit in the cab as we waited some more. Thirty minutes later two cops finally arrived. "Whats the problem?" they asked Katrina. She explained the circumstance. "It is -10 C snowing, and there is a guy who looks like he is dying over there in the snow". They tried to wake him up but couldn't, then said to her "This is a normal thing, you do not have to call the police for this". Insert shocked, awkward silence. She explained to them that it is not normal for me as an American or for Deybis as a Columbian, and the police officer shook our hands and they hauled this person up and tossed him in the back of the car... I hope that they did not toss him in a drunk tank and rough him up at all.
No matter what this persons circumstance was last night, I hope that today they are okay. We have a great emergency system in the USA, and to anybody who is traveling abroad just remember to be really careful because not every place is operating on the same or even a remotely similar system. All the fun, uniqueness of living here in China disappeared a little bit after that eye opening experience.