Thursday, January 15, 2009

Driving Miss Becky: Taxi Conversations 101

There are many benefits to riding in taxis:

1) You don't have to risk your life walking or riding a bike. Sidewalks don't exist here. Not because there aren't any built alongside the road but because a car at any point will go ahead and drive on it.

2) It's warm. Since I haven't yet aquired my fur-lined hood or surgeon's mask that the people here wear to keep warm, I resort to taxi heat. In fact, an American friend of ours even hailed a cab for me just to sit in while we were waiting on some other friends.

3) Language practice. I mean, who else would tolerate a crazy foreigner and her limited (and might I add very RANDOM!) vocabulary skills? A cab driver is more or less forced to sit, listen, and even participate in "conversation."

I'd like to give you a little taste of my taxi conversation from this afternoon. (I'd also like to add that this was my first solo trip. No Kevin, no other foreigner...just me and my driver!)

Me: How are you?
Cab driver: Huh?
Me: (in my head) ok...that one didn't work...onto the next you like to eat apples?
Cab driver: some sort of response...I have no clue what he said...
Me: Do you like small dogs?
Cab driver: Laughs at me.
Me: Do you have any children?
Cab driver: Two children. (Finally! An answer I can understand!)
Me: How old are they?
Cab driver: Some numbers I can't understand. I hate learning numbers! I never learned numbers when I studied spanish. Somehow I don't think thay will work out well for me here...
Me: Are you tired?
Cab driver: No.
Me: Are you cold? I am cold. But I have this (point to coat) and this (point to gloves). What are these called?
Cab driver: Repeats word. Repeats word again because I have utterly mispronounced it in my feeble attempt at repetition.
Me: (as we pass a roller coaster...weird...random roller coaster on side of the highway) Do you like this?
Cab driver: Laughs. Says no...I think.

It goes on like this for a while. Actually, not for while since it really doesn't take long to exhaust my vocabulary list.

Back to the books until I can come up with some other random questions!


Beth Anne said...

HAHA! That is hillarious. This will be chapter 2 of the children's book.

Annie M said...

LOL!!! Becky, your post just put a smile in my day! What a great 'conversation'. Well, I should get back to my desk job...Take care and keep working on those language skills.
Annie M.

Angela said...

LOVE IT! Maybe we should have a word of the day in your language on the blog, so we can learn along with you:)


Chris & Sarah Peek said...

Oh dearest Beck, your random smattering of words must equal heaps of fun for taxi drivers. Imagine the conversation he had with his family about the crazy laowei in his car today. :)

The Young Family said...

Great taxi talk! Can't wait for lesson #2! Miss and love you, rob

Morello Madness said...

I think you need to post a recap of your first conversation with a taxi driver -- while you were waiting for me to come downstairs to meet you... You -- Yao -- it's all the same, right?

Can't wait to see you soon!
~ Aim

Katie said...

So funny Beck! I love that your getting to practice those language skills. When I come visit, you will be a PRO!