China Post Cards

bya Gabrielle at 3:28 PM

We went walking around Fuyang about a week ago just to see what we could find. We strolled through some open markets and walked around some random shops and we found what one in China comes to expect . . . random, mostly useless and cheaply made stuff – at least for the most part that is. Every once in a while, we’d come across something interesting and make a mental reminder to come back for it.

In certain sections of town, it is just a long line of stores full to the brim of scrap metal, random pieces of computers, random opened TV’s with the parts strewn everywhere and so on. Just think of the most crappy Yard or Garage Sale you have ever been to and that is what many streets in Fuyang are like. Seeing this stuff made me realize why all the things back home marked “Made in China” suck so bad. See, the Chinese don’t make crappy things just for us. They make crappy things in general because they don’t feel like spending the extra money to make it a little nicer. Or maybe it is something else, but regardless, you have to be very careful as to what you buy because it may be used, broken, or on a timer as to when it will become useless. Back home there are only certain “Made in China” things you have to be wary of. Here, you have to worry about everything from shoes to anything electronic – including batteries. I have a friend, and fellow blogger, who wrote a funny segment about it. You can find it here. I thought it was funny, but most of the things I read on his blog make me laugh – and that is a good thing Trey, I promise.

But all those things aside, I finally found some postcards after days of going from one store to another asking if anyone had them. It’s a chore looking for things in China when you don’t speak Chinese. Usually I find the Chinese word for what I want in my dictionary that I carry around with me, and point to the word when I get in their shop. If they have it, they take me right to it. If they don’t, I hear the word “mao” which translates into “sorry, no dice”. So, then I say to them – “Zai nar” which translates into “where the hell can I find it then”. Then the pointing begins followed by a slew of Chinese words I don’t understand. I say thank you and head off to the next store to repeat what I just said again.

The postcards were in the very last place I looked because I didn’t think they would have it after I peered in the window. This place was dusty, old, and full of boxes. It looked nothing like it would have back home. I mean, it did have a counter, and people were standing behind it waiting to do their job – but the place looked like it was 20 years old and had never seen a duster. But I figured, what the hell, I want to find postcards, and that means I have to ask everyone – even if it is the shadiest Post Office I have ever seen. Yes, this place was a post office. A China Post to be exact. I walked in and started my shindig. I pulled out my dictionary and pointed the to the word postcard. She looked at me like my hair had just got fire. I kept pointing to it hoping that something would go CLICK in her post office mind. It didn’t. So I flipped to the word buy and pointed to it. She looked at it and started chittering to the girl at the next register. The girl chittered back, but nothing happened. So I pointed to the word buy, flipped back to the word postcard and did that a few more times hoping that those two simple words would somehow make a light bulb go off in her head. More chittering. Then some more. And then some running. The girl at the other register took off behind closed doors and was gone for some time. I guess she had to ransack the place to find them. A few minutes later she came running back out holding 4 bundles, yes, bundles of postcards. I hoped at that moment that she didn’t think I was going to buy all of them. She plopped them down on the counter and chittered some words that I couldn’t understand. I pointed to the postcards and said four(si). I got that famous blank stare for a second and then the great bright light lit behind her eyes. She counted out four, told me how much they were(which was very cheap), and I finally had my postcards. I was a happy woman. It is amazing how something so simple can totally make your day. I skipped all the way home.

Oh, and by the way, the reason there are pigs on all of the postcards is because 2007 is the year of the pig.

***Please do note that none of pinyin has any of the proper accents over them. Shoot me.

Categories: China,Chinese,Fuyang
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