Mr. Mai's

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March 7th 2008
Published: March 7th 2008
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It is hard to believe another week has passed. Life here is still a whirlwind adventure as we continue to see new stuff most days and venture into new areas of the city with our weekly shopping trips. Tomorrow we are off to Han Kou again, the large business and shopping area on the other side of the lake.

This evening, we went to Mr. Mai’s, an American style coffee house where people go to meet and chat in English. When we entered tonight, we were soon joined by several Chinese people who asked if they could sit with us. They all are dying to learn better English and this is a spot where they can go and practice. It is a great meeting place and makes great coffee and snacks. Large round tables are scattered throughout surrounded by large comfy armchairs. They are very interested in learning about Canada and we get to learn about China. Tonight we found out where we can hear traditional Chinese music and opera, as well as where the great historic sites and towers are in the city. Conversation also revolved around the government, health care and educational systems of the two countries. You can choose to put a sign at your table saying you don’t want to be bothered but Nancy and I had a great time talking for a couple of hours.

The small group we were talking with were quite interested in our Canadian cross-country motorcycle travels and Canada in general. Many are trying to learn better English both because of their own interest and also because it gives them a better opportunity to move up in their companies and possibly the chance to go to other countries on business. They said it is very difficult for most Chinese to leave the country because of the expense and also because of the difficulty in getting visas. None of the people we talked to had been out of China. We decided that it would be our Friday night hangout and said we would see them again next week. Before then we are going to try to get some business cards made up since they all wanted to exchange cards with us.

Downstairs from the coffee house is a great Italian restaurant where we had pizza and Jack Daniels for supper.

This week we bought a cheap electronic translator but decided we needed a better one after a few unsuccessful attempts at using it (along with several successful ones). So tonight we ordered a super duper one on the internet that contains words, phrases and Chinese language lessons. As well as voice recognition. We are hoping that it will help us with our language learning as well as making it a little easier to communicate in some situations.

Nancy continues to shop till she drops at bargain prices and has made it to a few places and back on her own. She is back hard at it with her online courses and divides her time between shopping, studying, getting the apartment in order and watching Chinese TV shows. She is still hoping that if she watches enough Chinese shows, some of the language will start to sink in.

The weather has changed and has turned rainy the last couple of days. However, we have almost been too busy to notice the weather. That is about it for now. Will try to put up more photos tomorrow after our next trip.


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