Thursday, March 13, 2008

another weird culture thing

So one thing is, if I ask someone how to do something, and they don't think I can do it, they just won't tell me. Like a few times I have asked people how you get to a certain scenic spot, and it comes out that I want to ride my bike (bicycle) there, and they'll say, "You can't ride a bicycle to there." And I'll say, OK, but if someone did, what route would they take. And they'll say no, you can't. Even though a few weeks later I do.

The same thing happened when my bag fell off my scooter- everyone just thought it was impossible that I could drive my scooter to get it, so no one would tell me where it was. I still don't know.

The thing that makes this frustrating is that many things that people here consider impossible- like riding a bike more than 5 km (although there are always serious bikers on the road, but I never can talk to them) or making your own arrangements for travel instead of using a travel agent- are not at all impossible.

Another thing is that if you ask someone to do something they don't want to do, they'll just pretend you didn't say it. Like maybe I'll be talking to a CT about a Performance Day for one of our classes, and I will suggest something I think is great, and they'll ignore it completely. Later I'll ask, "What do you think about....?" and they'll just look around like there's a fly buzzing or something.

This happens pretty regularly in all aspects of life- I suggest we get tea, I talk about a vacation idea- and it could just be a funny cultural thing, except I'm either saying something in possibly imperfect Chinese, or saying something in English that may not be understood because I'm talking to a non-native speaker of English. So it's frustrating- do you not understand, or do you not agree? But no way to get that across.

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