Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tales From the Orient: Chinese Fire Drill

There were a lot of hilarious things that happened to me in China, but this was the first truly hilarious thing. This was also the first completely stupid thing I did, and how can I deprive you of that story?

Date: July 16, 2013 Time: 9:00 or 9:30 p.m.

Twice a week, we had something in the evenings called English Corner. It was from 7-9 p.m. and students were not obligated to come. English Corner was a time for them to hang out with us and practice their English. We had board games, cards, arts & crafts, sports, music, etc. There was pretty much anything they wanted to do with us for two hours. Tonight was our very first English Corner. I think that the majority of the students came back to participate! Carrie and I ended up doing macrame with some of the girls and it was really fun! We also decided that the next English corner I'd bring my iPod and speaker and we'd be having a dance party.

OK, the stupidity started after English Corner. English Corner ended at 9:00 so by the time we got everything cleaned up it was probably 9:15 or 9:30. We all started walking to the nearby bus stop because it was dark out, we were tired, and nobody felt like walking all the way back to Old Town. Just as we get to the bus stop, Kozo drives up in his SUV with Andy in the front seat. Andy has the window rolled down and asks if we want a ride back to Old Town. "YEA!" I yell. As if you even had to ask! Carrie was right behind me and Tara was behind her. We were standing behind the billboard thing that they have at bus-stops, whatever it's called.

So we run from behind that and I'm leading the way. I throw open the door and hop in. Tara yells, "How much room is there?" And I yell back that there are 3 open seats so she should come on. I slide all the way over and Carrie slides in after me. Tara is on her way towards the car when I hear a lady say something in Chinese. She was in the front seat. Hmm. I don't remember Andy being a Chinese lady. And I don't remember Kozo being a Chinese man. I had gotten into the wrong car. And Carrie had followed me. So there we were just sitting in the back of some random Chinese couple's car. "Oops! Wrong car!" I said, as I hopped out and shut the door behind me. Carrie quickly did the same thing from the other side and we rushed over to the correct vehicle dying with laughter.

In my defense, I will say that Kozo has a very popular SUV and it was dark. And also, that Chinese couple was pulled up closer to the curb than Kozo was. Plus we'd been behind the billboard thingy so we were somewhat disoriented. I'm really impressed with how chill that couple was about the whole thing. I mean, for all they knew, they were being carjacked by a couple of little blonde girls. Granted, I don't speak Chinese so maybe the wife was completely flipping out and cussing up a storm in Chinese. But they seemed calm. And hey, what a fun story I've given them to tell all their friends and family. "We invited John and Sue to the party tonight, make sure they tell you about the time the Americans jumped in their car--it's hysterical!" You're welcome, John and Sue.

Anyway, we still got our ride back to Old Town. And the whole time we're cracking up about getting into the wrong car and how crazy the whole thing was. Meanwhile Andy was talking to Kozo about how it seemed as though there were more police out in Shangri-la lately and he was asking why. I responded, "Well, they heard there's some crazy white lady jumping into people's cars so they're on the lookout for her."

And that, my friends, is how you do a real Chinese Fire Drill.


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