Sunday, April 13, 2008

Giving my Parents the Tour

Saturday morning I picked up my parents at the airport. It was nice to see them. They said when they saw me they thought it was somebody else (claiming my hair has gotten darker), and it was only my persistent waving in their direction that convinced them that it was me until they got closer.

We took a taxi back to the family's house that they're staying at. A taxi should cost about 35 kuai, so when I noticed that it was 32 and we were only halfway, I started wondering what was wrong. It turns out the guy's meter was set for more than twice the rate. I asked him about it, he said something that we didn't really understand. Dad asked him about it, he grumbled about it and stopped the meter. When we arrived, Dad only had a 100 to pay him, which is really risky because you should never ask a taxi driver to give you a 50 since they're almost all fake. I had heard stories of people getting ripped off that way, so I started checking to make sure the 50 he gave us back was real. I'm not an expert at determining counterfeits, but it didn't feel real to me. I asked him about it, the guy grumbled again, and said if I thought it was fake I could have two 20s and a 10.

I thought I was really helping us out but it looks like the taxi driver had the last laugh: we were eating out today and when Dad tried to pay with the 20s, they said one was fake.

It's strange having them in China. They lived in China for four years long ago, so they used to speak Chinese. Their vocabulary hasn't been accessed in seventeen years, though, and their tones, which Mom claims were never very good, have gone down the drain. Nevertheless, they can understand conversations that Chinese people have, which I can't do.

Today we were walking through Carrefour, the French bigger-than-Super Walmart chain in China. It's two floors of everything you could need in life, from perfume to pork to imported cheese. Mom wanted to buy an electric tea pot for when she goes to Spain once a year, except we didn't know how to say "tea pot." They're game for talking in Chinese, so she got the salesclerk to understand what she meant and then tried to talk with her for like five minutes about how she wanted a cheap one and she didn't really care about the quality because she's only going to use it once a year.

I gave them a tour of my apartment yesterday. It's hard to complain about the hole in our ceiling when they were happy to have hot water back in the day. We had lunch at a small place nearby and Mom thought the food was way too spicy, even though it was barely spicy at all. We relaxed (they took a jet lag-induced nap), went to dinner with some family friends, talked with them for a while. This morning they came to church with me and this afternoon I did my own thing, so I don't know what they've been up to.

We're headed to the panda reserve tomorrow, so we might get some cute pictures. Here's one we took today, though, during lunch.


Jaclyn Wilhite said...

aww cute picture!

Mel said...

hooray :)

Sherilyn said...

Sounds like you are having a grand adventure! I can't imagine attempting some of the things you have been doing. So fun to see the photo with you and your folks. Hope you have a great visit.

Mrs. Curti...a voice from your distant past at LBC Awana!