A Smile from the Forest of Coconuts

Today is my last day in China.  My internship with Microsoft ended last Friday, so I spent this week planning my next trip, reading, listening to music, wandering around the city, and trying to sift through my impressions and memories of China before leaving.  I also visited the Forbidden City, which is something one apparently “must see” – though I confess it was not as interesting as some other things I have seen in China. 

There are so many interesting little details I could write about, but it can be hard when there is no coherent unifying theme to them.  So here are some odds and ends.  I still think the expression “mama huhu” is very funny: it literally means “horse horse tiger tiger”, but is used to mean “so so”, or mediocre.  I wonder what the story is behind that phrase!  Something which makes complete sense, on the other hand, is the character for “skewer”:


So I would agree with Bertrand Russell that “useless knowledge” makes life more pleasant.  In this case this bit of trivia makes me smile whenever I eat skewers.  

There are some great food items I will miss: fire dragon fruit (which I have never seen before coming to China), lulu (the almond milk drink), xiaolongbao, and the spicy lamb dish at the restaurant near our hotel.  I am also making a list of bizarre translations, either from English to Chinese  or Chinese to English.  My new favorite is from the Chinese translation of “piña colada” I found on the menu of a Mexican restaurant .  The literal translation was “a smile from the forest of coconuts”.


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