Wo Ye Xia Che
My Chinese learning is going by fits and starts. Lately, I have been trying to learn to read the characters -- this does give me lots to look at as I wander around Wuxi. Yesterday, with my Chinese friend Michael, I learned a lot about signage put up in Wuxi. For example, you will see the local government placing signs everywhere telling everyone (Ren Ren) to do something, like care for the environment. So, I am making a little progress on that.
But my oral Chinese has seen little progress. I am still picking the occasional word in conversation but rarely can I pick up on complete meanings. Sometimes, I hear a phrase that I have heard before, and end up slapping myself because I can't recall the meaning.
For instance, coming to work today, I was sitting at an inside seat on the bus. I got up to leave, and the man beside me, who I expected to let me out said "Wo ye xia che!". I thought he meant "I will let you out!". But as soon as I got up, it registered in my brain what he meant: he was also getting off at the next stop too. I felt so dumb, as I saw him leave the bus after me.
Wuxi Tony can say "Wuxi!"
Wuxi Tony can now say the word "Wuxi". You will see proof of this in the Wuxi Tony Update that I recorded yesterday.
My son Tony can also act. Give him a piece of Kleenex to wipe his nose and he will pretend to cry and wipe his eyes.
Times Square and Wu Park Culture Park observations
Yesterday, I meet a local who can speak some English: Michael. With Michael, I was given a tour of the area near our apartment.
There is a shopping mall near our apartment called Times Square. Michael told me that this Mall has more retail space than the Baoli Shopping Mall in downtown Wuxi. Baoli may have fifty percent occupancy. Times Square, which has been standing for a year, will open for business once the Tesco there opens. But the other eighty percent of the Mall has no occupants. Walking about it, I had the forlorn sensation of walking in a White Elephant.
The Wu Park Culture Park also near our apartment is a big park and I think is worth leaving the downtown of Wuxi to visit. As you will see in the videos I have taken there it is a big place. It has lots of paths and museum exhibits. However, I learned from Michael when the park first opened, they charged admission to go in. Now, it is free of charge to enter and the place has fallen into disrepair.
One of the exhibits in the park, I learned from Michael, was to warn people away from bad religions. One of the things I noticed about the exhibits in the park is that they don't tell you much about the religious aspects of Wu culture. I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't have had any. But learning about this exhibit, and seeing that the museum likes to display Economic, Scientific, and Political figures, I see what the attitude of the creators of the museum was to religion.
One Student went to a New Year's Party
So far, I have had one student tell me they went to party on New Year's Eve. That is one, out of the fifty or so I have asked.