When Tim’s parents came to visit him about two weeks ago, Phil and I went to see how their hotel accommodations were. They were staying in a four star hotel that was trying to become a 5 star. It is located right at the foot of the hill that leads to our apartment and the school where Phil teaches. We eye it constantly and jokingly say that we are going to stay there one night just to say we did. Who knows, we may actually do it. It would only cost us about $69.00 to do so. How often can you say that you stayed in the lap of luxury for $69.00 . . . not very often would be my guess. It it is a very nice hotel with a staff that is constantly on your heels to see if you have any needs. Even better – some of the staff can speak English. But anyway, I digress.
We went to see what their rooms were like because Phil’s parents are probably going to come visit us as well before we leave and we wanted to make sure it was suitable for them. Before we got on the elevator(one of man’s greatest inventions – thank you Mr. Otis) I asked Tim what floor his parents were staying on. I was thinking to myself that it couldn’t be the 13th – because hotels don’t have . . . and that is where I stopped in my thought process because I suddenly remembered that I was no longer in the States and that the fear of the number 13 was some 7,000 miles away. But I went ahead and asked Tim anyway, expecting any number but the 13th to roll off his tongue.
“They are on the 13th,” he said.
I laughed. “Your joking?”
“They really put them on the 13th floor?”
“Yeah, why is . . .(lightbulb) oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that.”
I thought it was funny, but of course, stupid things like that always make me giggle. It may have been some cruel joke put on by the hotel staff because they knew they were Americans but it was probably just a random occurrence. I like the cruel joke idea better.
The hotel room ended up being pretty nice with a good view of the city from their window. The beds were actually sorta soft. In China, hard beds are the norm and they suck, but these weren’t half bad. The room itself wasn’t as big as I expected for a 4 star hotel. It was about the same size as a normal cheap room back in the States, but it was nice. The room came equipped with a western toilet(hooray) and a bathtub(double hooray). It was the first bathtub that I have seen since we got to China almost 2 months ago. I so wanted to hop in and take a long hot bath so bad. That would have felt so good. More reasons why we really should go there and stay a night.
In China, and this is the reason for this post, they have similar superstitions to ours. For instance, we fear the number 13 because we think it is bad luck, although I couldn’t tell you why, and I doubt any number of people could either. As far as I know, the Chinese could care less about the number 13. It doesn’t mean jack-diddley to them, but the the numbers 4 and 14 sure do.
The pronunciation of the number 4 and the word “die” sound very, very similar. So much in fact, that the Chinese avoid it as much as humanly possible. Like our 13, they don’t like to stay on the 4th floor of buildings and they really don’t like days, months or years that contain the number either. It’s just plain unlucky. The same goes for the number 14. It sounds a lot like the words “must die” and so they avoid it, too. If an apartment building has a 4th or 14th floor – the apartments on that particular floor are usually cheaper. I wouldn’t mind living on a unlucky floor if it meant I could save some money. But then again, I am a cheap bastard. Heh. I’m already unlucky naturally, so maybe the unluckiness would cancel each other out or something.
I don’t find these particular superstitions odd, but I’m still not quiet used to the idea of a lucky hairy mole, lucky long pinky nail, or a lucky cricket. Hopefully, I will make it through the rest of the day for I do have a lucky cricket to ward off the unlucky 13th day of October.
Heh, I’ll tell you about the two additions to our little family later. Gloria and Edwardo, our new pet crickets, are super annoying, but cute – so they are forgiven any wrong doing.
Have a Happy Friday the 13th.