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More fun with the Hainan family

I am still writting about the trip, but here is whats up lately around here.

First few days after the trip I slept hard and I slept late.  I didn’t leave the flat because it was colder, darker, smoggier, grayer and suckier than before I left.  Maybe I just wanted my Hainan back, my sun, my sand, my tour guide.

I had bought a few dvds in Yangshou, nothing rare or exciting, just a few flicks.  I came home to find my new dvd player completly fried.  I had left it on while I was on my trip.  The ones in the states have a thing that makes them switch off after x amount of time, you know, like a screen saver on a computer.  Chinese dvd players don’t do that, they just fry.

Han Xiao Yin came by my place and we exchanged trip photos, he messed with my computer and figured I had a virus which makes sense.  He figured I’d have to wipe the whole damn thing clean and start again.  I believed him, he’s going to school in the states for computers, but I’m giving away future blogs. 

He downloaded the first season of the show prison break on my computer.  This is an american show which boasts Stacey Keach and the hitman from Fargo who never talked and loved pancakes.  He was also a nihlist in the big lebowski and was in dancer in the dark.

The show is about a guy who’s brother is on death row for a political frame up job and so the guy tatoos the blue prints of the prison as a body piece and robs a bank in order to go to jail and bust out his brother.  The producer is Brett Ratner, (X men 3)  I had no dvd player and I watched this thing day and night for a week.  God help me.

The same day Han Xiao Yin told me that the Hainan family was looking to hang out in Shangqiu, as it turns out they live right around the corner from me.  Ahhhh, They are so nice.

A few days later the phone rings.  Here is my take on the conversation:

Me: Wai? (Chinese phone answer)

Voice of little girl:  giggle giggle

Me: Wai?  Hello?

Voice of little girl:  Hello, this is Yum Yao.

I knew her to be the little girl from Hainan, I didn’t know until that very moment that her name was Yum Yao.  Isn’t that cute? Sounds like a little panda or candy or some such.

Yum Yao: giggle giggle

Me: Hainan?

Yum Yao: Ah Hainan. (talking to the rest of her family in Chinese about what to say for several minutes.  Many voices debating back and forth now.)

Yum Yao: (finally) you, the next day?  Giggle, giggle, giggle.  (Talking to everyone else in Chinese.  Everyone else seems to agree and take turns repeating the words ‘you’ and ’the next day’)  The next day?  You?

Me:  Dua dua (Chinese for yes or correct) the next day.  Ok.

That was pretty much the meat of me and Yum Yao’s five minute conversation.  Whatever the hell was now set to happen was going down tomarrow.  Tomarrow came and went.  Then came the next day.  Xiao Yin called me about the plans I had made for that night with the fam.  Diner at their house, they picked me up, Xiao Yin was with them too.  It was very nice.  When I showed up another brother was there who hadn’t been on the trip, big boy.  And the dad showed up, smiled a lot.  They all smiled and pointed at me while discussing the topic of me as if I were absent all the while.  At one point Yum Yao brought out her little school book and read english sentances to me.  I tried in vein to get them to make the TH sound by writting down mouth and mouse exageratting both ending sounds.  No luck.  Hainan Mother rolled out doe and we all made dumplings, which was the main corse of the diner that night.  Also on the menu were duck faces, pig feet and boiled chicken tallons.  Hainan Mother  (much like mothers all over the world I suppose) was terrified that someone in her house would not get enough to eat and kept heaping more and more pig feet and duck faces in my bowl.  I smile and knaw at it politly, but really I’m just eating the hell out of some dumplings.  I am a sucker for Chinese dumplings.  I didn’t even try the boiled chicken tallons. 

I ask Hainan mother were she works (via Xiao Yin) and she says a tea shop, pointing off in a direction as if across the street.  My newfound love for Chinese tea caused me to say “oh maybe you can show me where it is when you take me home,”  They looked at me strange and I couldn’t figure why. 

Pretty soon Xiao Yin (being a young cat in the city) was ready to split this domestic scene.  He said he was going to visit his grangmother or some such and took off.  I sat and tried to conversate using my hands for a while, around 9:30 I was good and ready to split too.  I stood up to say so politly and Hainan Mother said ” Do you want to see tea shop or go home”  I told her whatever either way.  She said tea shop. 

The way she had pointed made me think it was next door maybe.  And I was picturing a small shop front, like the ones that line vertually every street in Shangqiu.  The whole family packed in a car and we went way across town in the direction she had pointed.  I promise that it was not even close to my intention to make the whole family put their shoes on and pile in a car at 9:30, (when most Chinese folks are in bed) and trek all the way across town to go to moms job.  This was not my plan, they were clearly under the impression that it was so off we went.

Moms work wound up being a huge two story oak panneled fancy smancy affair.  I walked in the door which meant I had to drink a huge glass of tea and eat a bowl of soggy gooey balls floating in porridge.  God I hope they weren’t what they looked like.  So I ate and drank as fast as I could because by now I really was sick of hanging out with a bunch of well meaning people I couldn’t speak to who were all really sick of being at moms work because foriegn man is crazy and insists on tea across town at bedtime.  I acted like I was thrilled to be there and they did the same. 

This was akward, and lasted around 20 minutes.  The whole time everyone who worked at the place came out of the wood work to stare at the big dumb animal sitting there drinking tea and eating gooey balls.  Finally we got up to go, but not before they spent their good money on buying me several jars of good tea.  I tried to stop them, I took out my wallet to pay, it was no use, this was a gift and that was that.

So finally they took me back to my school.  We pulled up when it hit me that the front gate locks nightly at 9:30, here we were at 10. 

This had never been a problem before.  As much as I regret to admit it, I had yet to meet a single person who would hang out with me past night fall.  My nights are spent sitting alone in front of the computer writting to you, my dear blog believers, or else watching dvds, now prison break.  This was the latest I had been outside the compound walls.  Sad right? 

Heres the thing, I had no keys to the gate.  There is a 24/7 gate keeper who is supposed to hear me call when I get in, but try as I may he was not answering.  We all screamed our fool heads off.  We rattled the bars, I screamed louder than glen danzig until my head ached and pipes hurt.  The long scream that ends involuntarily in a cough.  So the Hainan family father said “hotel” and the family drug me by the arms back into the car.

At that moment I felt so embarassed about the lets go for tea feasco that I would have agreed to anything to get these people home.  I had plenty of money on me, and maybe the room would have a jackie chan movie on cable.  They drove me to a hotel, not far away.  I felt like such an idiot.  We got to the place and I was out first.  I walked across the lobby, Hainan father was keeping almost in step with me.  I get to the desk and obviously Hainan daddy is doing all the talking, I am standing there with two hundred yuan in my fist.  All of the sudden he is signing something, my heart sank.

“NO, NO, NO” I cried and tried to push the paper away.  I tried to put my money in the ladies hand first but Hainan father was too fast and cagey.  He pushed my money and my hand aside.

“NO, No!”  I reinterated, shaking my head back and forth and pointing my thumb to my chest.  I tried to grab the paper away, he smiled and pushed my whole body away.  Physically pushed. 

The lady took the paper he had signed and not my money.  The bitch!

So on the way up to the room in the elevater the whole thing gets even better.  The two sons are now rooming with me in a 2 bedroom.  I am almost too exasperated to force a smile, I wanted to bust out crying.

We get to the room and one brother plays solotare on the comp computer the other watches something on tv involving with a lot of singing.  I went to the bathroom and shut the door.  I sat on the john with the lid shut, just thinking, trying to sort out the past hour.

Not only was I now in for a night of enjoyable no conversation, but this guy sprung for my hotel room.  Jesus, there is nice and nice and then there is too nice and then there was this.  What right does he have?  Welcome to Chinese generosity.  It is so sweet and kind and often unwelcomed and potentially dangerous. 

I waited for a while then I made my move.  I went down to the elevater to the lobby.  I marched up to the desk and with my flimsey sub thread bear knowledge of Manderin was able to ask how much the room cost.  175 yuan.  I counted the money out and put it down.  I stood there as everyone in the place with a hotel uniform explained to me whatever they meant to explain.  I came to realize they had already charged the guys account and there was nothing I could do.  I wonder why a married man would have an active pre-setup account at a hotel around the corner from his house, ain’t none of my buisness and it aint none of yours.  Interesting though.

I finally took my money and went upstairs, defeated.  I really had let this guy pay 175 yuan for my hotel room.  This comes to around 22 dollars US, but it is no small amount of money around here.  I toyed with the plan of running downstairs, leaving the money then hauling ass upstairs.  No, no good.  They would just be knocking on my door five minutes later.  I even tried to give the money to the sons to give to their old man later, a totally lost cause.

I had to face what a huge inconvienence my company had been on this family.  Like a huge storm front that couldn’t talk had rolled in on their lives and made them go for tea and,…

but I didn’t make the guy pay for my hotel room.  And it occured to me that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it, I should stop scheming about ways to pay him back through unmarked envelopes from unknown sorces or whatever.  Ahh, let him, what choice did I have?  What the hell?  It seemed to make him happy.  I guess he wanted to appear generous or rich, or he wanted me to be in his debt, but it really didn’t feel that way. I did take a whole bed for myself.  Didn’t feel bad about that one for a second.

  The next morning we all got up.  One of the sons was able to pull enough broken peices of english together to tell me they were going out for breakfast.  I had had enough. 

I said that I would rather spring for a taxi and go home.  We went down to the street, I called a cab, they tried to give me money which I didn’t take.  But they wouldn’t even get in my cab, I wanted to at least give them a ride home but they walked.  It wasn’t far to their place, but it was more an issue of they would rather walk then ride in a cab I was paying for.   

So I went home and first thing Monday I made damn sure I got a key to the front gate.  The gate keeper who used to smile at me all the time won’t give me eye contact any more.  He is embarrased I had to stay in a hotel and I guess he lost face when I asked for a key, like saying he couldn’t do his job.  Well being that all of the above happen to be true I can live without his smiles, I still smile at him though.  Thats just the kind of guy I am.

4 Responses to “More fun with the Hainan family”

  1. marcus Says:

    You should find out when the next birthday is in there family and buy a big cake with a picture of Hainan, and fireworks then take a picture of it and get it framed so they can keep it. $22 bucks worth… eh.. eh…

    Or you could black mail dad with the hotel thing and then repay him with your silence!

  2. Michelle Says:

    I say you just get Hainan Daddy $22 worth of Hainan Hooker and call it a D-A-Y.

  3. Will Says:

    I might have to travel all the way to the H-O-O-nan province.

  4. amateur webcam Says:

    wow nice

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