Tuesday, May 05, 2009


It's been a quiet couple of days, spring has been particularly pleasant here, and minus a few days of rain, the days are sunny, but cool. This afternoon, I felt a chill entering my bones, threw on a few more layers, and on my walk to a meeting, felt the weak sunshine on my skin. I passed the daily parade of roosters in a cage outside a restaurant; a few weeks ago, they had a rather noisy duck out there too, but he's probably been eaten by now. Three chickens, robust looking beasts, watch the world go by, not knowing they are waiting out their fate.

A couple of corners down the road, I spy an unfamiliar sight. A grey dappled pony, led by his owner. Four or five trike drivers were likewise parked on the sidewalk, making comments about the horse. I don't think the horse was for eating, he looked like he was being brought to show some of the kids in the playschool nearby. He made some indignant noises when he was left by the tree.

Seeing the horse made me think of chinese words, the word for horse "ma" (third tone) is typically used by chinese language teachers when explaining the four tones. Ma (first tone) could refer to Mother; ma (second tone) may refer to the character used for hemp or numbness; ma (third) for horse; and the final tone of ma is normally only used in cursing or ending a interrogative question. We would practice the tones by saying ma four times, differentiating each tone, hopefully clearly, otherwise you're sort of just saying "Your mother's horse, or your mother is a horse."

Another sight on the road today, the local firemen were in training, I suspect they were being tested on speed. How quickly can they connect the hoses to the firetruck, or perhaps how quickly they could unroll the hose... Unlike Western firemen, however, there's nary a hunk among them. Deep sigh.

Tasted a new fruit, what looked to be a large cherry like fruit in a range of colors from green to orange. They're tart, and texture leans towards apricot/plum, with a pit. I'm not overjoyed by them, even though they are juicy enough. Perhaps they'd go well dipped in salt. The fruit store was also selling bing cherries, I nearly went for them until I saw they were 70 renminmbi per kilo (approximately P500 a kilo). I think I'll wait till the end of May, perhaps the cost will drop a bit more. I bought two kiwis instead.

Am fighting off the urge to go to the nearby supermarket and buy a bag of chips. I'm hoping that I can wait it out till 9 so the store will be closed and I won't want to traipse down four flights of stairs in the dark, with only my small flashlight to guide me.

Watched The Reader on dvd yesterday, and found the young actor playing Michael Berg (David Kross) very appealing and sexy. Yeegads, my cougar instincts!

In other news: Long overdue payment for Filipino veterans is included in the US Department of Defense budget. Took the US government 64 years to make a long drawn out situation right.

So ends May 5, 2009.


Katrina said...

Funny, yet so apt, how they have the same word for hemp and numbness... :-D

ChichaJo said...

I love your story telling M :)

christine said...

Ma in four tones and each one meaning something very different!? How confusing! haha. I'd have such a hard time with that language I'm sure. Good choice on the kiwis, it's a superfood! :)

Watergirl said...

Teaching english, I'm starting to realize the difficulties it creates for a non-english speaker, so many homonyms, and then you factor in the borrowed words from other languages (like cul de sac and entree!), and all our weird grammatical exceptions and weird spelling. But having to relearn chinese at the same time, I'm just trying to get my brain to focus, it's so hard!!!

Nena, I would like to try as many different fruits as they come into season. I'm thrilled it's nearly time for the bayberries (yang meis), which I have written about before (plus there's a photo of them on my multiply page). They're so big and luscious here. But the orange/ponkans are bitter! Am a bit put off by that. I do like the mulberries, except for the stained fingers bit.

Pike Market Peonies

Pike Market Peonies