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i’m sold!

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish, memory lane, travel | Leave a comment

Found some old photos from China when organizing my files last week.

This was from our Chinese New Year trip in 2005 to Guilin and Yangshou in south China. Several things went wrong with this trip, and the trip alone could be a chapter in my future book on hilarious China experiences.

We found these in our awesome hotel room, which was not reassuring…

the grass is always greener

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish, just because | Leave a comment

When I was back in Beijing the other week working out of our Beijing office, I was blown away by how many things have opened up in the office building since I moved away in March.

I worked out of that office for two years, and that building has been around as long as I can remember, looming over the third ring road. It’s hardly a new structure, yet the back buildings were always empty, and had been for years. It was never easy to eat around the office, and you were better off packing your lunch. The one thing in the building was a Blenz coffee, which you would never guess in a million years was part of a broader franchise – and is the kind of place that would have you praying to the coffee Gods to send you a Starbucks.

So you can imagine my horror when I walked into the lobby and spotted a Starbucks sign towards the back, with a big wrap-around ‘coming soon’ banner. On top of this, an upscale supermarket has opened, as well as a cantonese cafe chain, a Subway, a cooking school and western cafe and an entirely new and improved food court complete with dim sum sections.

Seriously this building has been there for years, and I’m not gone 6 months and everyone and their mom opens up shop. The injustice was excruciating.

In China, if one seller opens up, three more open up next to them – often selling the same stuff. It’s sort of a running joke about why are all the apple sellers stationed right next to each other?

Well recently I stumbled on this little gem online, apparantly coffee shops are an emerging craze in second tier cities in China. With blatant Starbucks rip-offs having been around for years, this one surely takes the cake.

Love how the blogger calls it a coffee brothel instead of a coffee bar.

China never ceases to amaze, or amuse. And that’s why I love it so much.

Thank you China, once again you have made my day.

lost in translation

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish | Leave a comment

These last couple weeks I’ve been traveling for work, and was elated to be in Beijing again. Seeing old friends for dinner was a highlight of this trip, and I didn’t know how I would feel being back in Beijing… I spent my whole adult life there, would it feel weird? Would it feel like I had moved on? Would I miss it terribly? The answer is the latter! I felt at home again – and all too aware that in six months in Singapore, I’m still missing a lot.

I was surprised how cultural it felt to be back (I had this feeling in Thailand recently too). But mostly, the energy and charm of Beijing feel intoxicating again.

One of my favorite little moments of the trip was this little gem – from my menu at a sanlitun mexican restaurant which is an absolute pillar of alfresco drinking in Beijing – made me laugh out loud.

The menu reads:
1. Chips and Salsa
Your browser may not support display of this image.
Home-made tortilla corn chips with your choice of salsa

Amazing, and in case you thought this was a one-off blip on the menu – it appears under almost every description.

A new type of chinglish – but classic.

chinese back translation

Posted on by Dalton Dorné Posted in china, chinglish | Leave a comment

My best Chinese friend, Monica, sent me a message on msn today that I couldn’t understand. We were talking about getting our kids together for a play date next weekend, and usually, we chat online in Chinese.

Occasionally, I use an online tool to help me read a character if I can’t figure it out, this time it was a whole sentence.

So I copied her note into an online translation tool, and this is what i got back:

then gnarl ass and others to do good work more small movement, blandish home


Somehow, I’m guessing that hasn’t quite been translated correctly…

Monica and I with our babies – born 1 day apart!