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Saturday, July 21, 2007


Persisting with the communication

My biggest challenge in this town is to get my needs met with my limited ability to communicate in the local language.

Eating is more challenging because of my allergies and preferences. I can't just point. I need to ask questions. But that is close to impossible.

I have a friend further north in this country. This is a big country and it will take several days to reach his city, so I've decided to move on. Today I went to the bus station to buy a ticket to the next major town. Before I did I spent about half an hour with my language course practising and writing down the appropriate words.

At the bus station I had the help of three people, two who could speak a little English and one who did the actual ticket booking. Occasionally I dragged out my notes. They were a little help but invariably their English was far superior to my Mandarin. And finally we did it. I have my ticket. But the bus leaves from another bus station. They gave me instructions for how to get to the other bus station. I even got them to write down my destination on a piece of paper so I don't have to try to say it to the taxi driver. What she wrote down takes several lines. She's obviously written more than the name of the bus station. I wonder what she's told the taxi driver about me.

All being well, by time you are reading this I will have moved on and will be in the next town. If it's photogenic you'll find a few pictures on my flickr page.

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