Chinese Word of the Day: 岳母
(yue4 mu3 literally “wife’s parents” plus “mother”) = mother-in-law The Chinese pay particular attention to family relationships so the husband’s parents get a completely different word. 婆母 (po2 mu3)
Ruth’s mom, Pat, was scheduled to arrive on Sunday afternoon. We decided to seize this opportunity to connect with old friends, so we contacted former students from HIT in Weihai and arranged to meet on Friday for dinner. We were expecting to connect with just Lv Min and Simon, but were excited to find out that Robin, Air, Pauline and Hawk could all join us as well. These were students of ours six years ago in Weihai. All of them now work in Shanghai, all but one are married, and Air was proudly showing off pictures of his baby.
Air and Robin both went on for “further studies”. Air got a law degrees and Robin got a post graduate degree in finance. So all of them are better educated than I am now. What a delight to see these young people all doing so well in the big city. We had a great dinner while catching up on their lives, singing songs, and just enjoying each others’ company. We all shared the bill, which the Chinese call “going AA”.
The next day we caught up on email in Starbucks and then had time to hang out on Nan Jing Lu, the pedestrian mall near People’s Square, before dinner with Jenny.
This is what everybody thinks China is like. Jammed with people. In fact, the illusion is created by using a long lens on the camera. It’s the beginning of the holiday season in China, and Nan Jing Lu, the pedestrian mall, was full of people. But it wasn’t crowded. At least not like this picture makes it seem.
On the way to dinner with Jenny and her friend, Alex, we passed this fashion store in the shopping centre.
Ruth directed my attention to the poster in the window. At first glance it seems serene and quite pleasant. And then you notice that the woman has safety pins through the skin of her arm, attaching her to her androgynous lover’s red leather jacket sleeve.
I really wonder what kind of clientele they are trying to attract, but I suppose that consensual S&M is gaining popular acceptance. I have mixed feelings. Generally I tend to go along with YKINMKBYKIOK* but Ruth has no doubts about her reaction. She doesn’t like this at all.
(*Stands for “your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay,” a common phrase used among those with more deviant sexual tastes to say we don’t all have to like doing a thing in order for that thing to be acceptable.)
It was great to see Jenny again. We haven’t seen her since attending her wedding back in October. Jenny sent me the short version video of her wedding and you can see it here, but it might take a while to download. It’s a big file, 147.7 megs. but a cool look at a Chinese wedding. You’ll find it interesting if you have the patience to download it.
Sunday we had lunch with another former student, Xenia, from Jiang Nan university. Then we took the subway for twenty minutes to the Maglev station.
The Maglev is really a huge air plane that looks like a train. It only gets far enough off the ground to reduce friction, but that lets it cover the distance between Shanghai and the Pudong airport in about eight minutes.
Ask a stranger to take a picture with my camera and they very seldom get it in focus. I can tell them that they need to push the button until they hear a beep, then push it all the way. Never works. But focus is not all that important in this picture. And maybe the blurry image is caused by a relativity effect at the high speed. 😉
431km/hr is something to experience. But the Maglev is so smooth that it really isn’t all that sensually impressive. More of an intellectual appreciation. That’s fast.
We’ve had a two days in Wuxi with Ruth’s mom, Pat, now. Last night we went downtown to Nan Chan Si, the temple market area, which has been all dressed up for the tourist trade in the last few years. It’s really quite beautiful. We stopped in for a Starbucks coffee and then later a drink at the Red Lion, a bar run by a second generation Australian bar owner in Wuxi. His dad runs the Blue Bar, another favourite foreigner haunt.