Monday, October 18, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Foreigners...oh my!

OK so we weren't wandering through a haunted forest being chased by winged monkeys...but pretty close. We went to the local zoo this past weekend, and it seemed that the pair of foreigners attracted almost as much attention and pictures as the animals did.

Now if you're a PETA activist or something like that, I highly advise you to discontinue reading this post immediately and never, ever, ever visit a Chinese zoo. The elephant pen looked more like elephant jail. But apart from the direct violation of animal rights, we had a rather pleasant afternoon.

I didn't bother taking any pictures of animals (for the obvious, above-stated reasons). Besides, most of you know what a lion at a zoo looks like. But here are some pictures of some things you probably haven't seen at your local zoo...

If you've ever wondered where to deposit your "unredeemable" trash or left over "organisms"...problem solved!

This is the map displayed at the front of the zoo to help you plan your animal-viewing route. First stop--monkeys. Then on to the bears. And before we leave, let's make sure to check out the demon lion with a flaming pitchfork?!?!

Before embarking on your day of zoo-ish fun, make sure to take note of the zoo's Kindly Reminders:

Please initiatively buy the ticket.

Please keep public order, do not be drunk and disorderly, do not affray and commit violence.

Pets are not admitted to the zoo, explosives and dangerous items are forbidden. (Too bad for Bomb Dog...he gets two strikes against him with this rule!)

And it wouldn't be a Chinese park without some chintzy amusement park rides. This one was my favorite:

You sit in this red jeep with the penguin seats and, as you make laps around a giant rock, shoot water guns at the targets. But the best part is what the targets actually are:

Yes, that is most certainly a peeing doll! The thing I find so ironic about this is that it's not an uncommon sight at all to see a kid peeing just about anywhere. So why villainize a perfectly acceptable cultural norm by turning the poor doll into target practice? But then again, on my not-so-hot China days when seeing one more squatting pre-schooler on the street or walking through one more unidentifiable puddle might send me packing, maybe I should head to the zoo to relieve some culture stress.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Definition: Ungrammatical or nonsensical English in Chinese contexts

Results: Uncontrollable laughter

Chinglish has to be one of my favorite parts of living here. It's nearly impossible to leave the house without encountering some sort of English error, whether spoken or written. (Not that I have much room to criticize, considering that my own Chinese skills are certainly less than perfect!) Our trip to the beach at the beginning of the month was no exception.

Exhibit A: the train station

Now what exactly is our furry friend responsible to accomplish? Keeping train patrons safe from potential explosives or in fact acting as an explosive himself?

Exhibit B: the hotel's concern for our safety

It might not be a five-star establishment but I've never stayed in any other place that cares for my safety enough to provide me with a Fire Fighting Filter Type Self Saving Breather.

First of all, we just have to wonder...Is that an Arabian princess or a medieval knight on the front of the can?

And in case there was any doubt as to how to use said object, let's refer to the instructions given:

1) Take out Fire Fighting Filter Type Self Saving Breather.
2) Tear at the package bag of Fire Fighting Filter Type Self Saving Breather.
3) Wear helmet and pull contractive belt fast.
4) Choose way and flee for your life decidedly.

Point for attention:

Once find fire condition, tear at the packaging bag of breather immediately, wear helmet of breather imperturbably and correctly and get away from fire field as quick as possible.

Decidedly?!?!? Imperturbably?!?!?

We made sure to practice right away in the event of "finding fire condition."

Exhibit C: the hotel's miserliness exposed

Kevin is a hotel kleptomaniac. Without fail, he always takes every single hotel free sample home with us, claiming that at some unknown time in the future, he'll find a use for it all. Sometimes he does (he uses a hotel shower cap for a bike seat cover when it's a rainy day); but most of the time he doesn't (which explains why I have a gazillion tiny bottles of hotel shampoo that clutter my bathroom and drive me crazy). So during this hotel stay, I thought I'd try my own hand at some hotel thievery.

But wait...the hotel hair dryer is in fact not complementary.

Thankfully, we made it home without needing to rely on the aid of the bomb dog or the Fire Fighting Filter Type Self Saving Breather. I'm still on the lookout for a hair dryer though.

PS- If you've got some time to kill, there is a whole website dedicated to funny Chinglish findings around the country.