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September 22, 2006 - Guyuan, China

Friday Rundown

Real beer taste, none of the pineapple bite.

Pete and Repeat

Last class of the week, good group of kids - surprisingly eager to learn at 5:15 on Friday. The lesson is on friendship. You know, like g-l-u-e between people.

We start going over a listening section about Anne Frank and her best friend - a diary.

“A diary is very personal. What you write in a diary is usually only interesting to the person that writes it. So, in a diary, the writer and the reader are the same person - you.”

Eighteen recitations later - I know it cold.

The students have to fill in a paragraph with blanks, your typical comprehension check, so I introduce them to the word “blank.”

“A diary is very blank.”

The kids get a real kick out of this. You’d think I was saying “tit” or something just as salacious. They read the passage with enthusiasm, shouting out each blank as if they were breaking the law.

After the passage is read, I ask them if they filled in all the blanks.

“Did you get seven?”

A resounding, “NO!!!!” erupts.

Being ever so thorny, I throw it back at them, “No?”


Wait. What? They just said “no.” And now they say “yes?”



Thinking they have gotten mixed up, I try to correct them, “Noooo.”


By now, I’m confused. I try again.

“No. ? . “


Christ. I’m slow catching on. They’ve been agreeing with me. What a numbskull. Time to play along.



I realize I could do this ad infinitum. A few more times through and I can’t help but laugh. We all crack up. The joke’s on me and the entire class.

And all of us realize it.

Nu Pijiu

On the walk home from dinner I stop to get some beer. Being ever adventurous, I decide to try a new brand - same price as my usual brew, so why not?

I get home - thinking about that first semi-cool sip - beer here isn’t refrigerated. Bottle opener poised, I notice a small icon on the side.

A pineapple.

What beer has a pineapple on it of all things? Hoping for some tropical getaway sweepstake, I look closer.

The pineapple has some oranges next to it. It only takes me two words,

Boluo” and “pijiu”.

Pineapple beer? Uh-oh. I flip the bottle.

On the back next to the words “fruit beer” I notice “<1.0º”.

Non-alcoholic fruit beer. Just what I need after a week of class. Nothing like a good tall warm glass of pineapple juice to relax.

Fortunately the laoban lets me return it. Especially after he laughs for awhile when I describe the fruit beer as nu pijiu.

Female beer.

No matter what they say, Chinglish will get you places.

» Link lovin’

Ningxia Huizu Zizhiqu - Decent English map of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

US Army Guide to China - Uncle Sam illuminates China and how to spot Japanese during WWII. Non-PC, possibly NSFW and offensive, but the naivety is priceless.

Missile Control Surfaces - Thrust vectoring, axial plate or reaction jet?

Torpark - Torpark has been officially released. Hailed as an open-sourcce, portable, adware free browser. No OS X version, but still good software. Thanks to Naree for a heads up.

Tumbleweeds... and no comments. How 'bout livening things up?

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