Quilt Gallery

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Mind Sliding: Adventures in China

The Chinese language is so completely different from English that I expected traveling in China would entail a few adventures. I was not disappointed, though some were rather different than I anticipated. It turns out that Yangshuo, the area I visited, is a popular enough destination that many signs and menus have English translations. It also turns out that Chinese language structure and vocabulary is different enough to make direct translation a bit tricky.

We saw this first hand on an excursion in the Yangshuo region to Moon Hill, so named because of the moon shaped arch that forms its peak.

Moon Hill

We hoped that climbing the 800 limestone steps to the top would reward us with a good view of the area. Sure enough, just as we reached the top the haze cleared enough for the sun to shine through a bit and reveal numerous of the karst towers for which the region is known.

View from atop Moon Hill

Still, the most interesting part of this excursion was in the signs and their English translations along the stairs to the top. For the most part we could understand what they were getting at. Yes, the stairs would indeed be slippery on rainy days.

And, yes, the mountain path is steep.

The translations are charmingly not quite right. Rather than lose something in the translation, these signs gain something in the translation. This one seems like a good piece of general advice. Certainly it's applicable to dealing with too-slick salespeople!

This one made me wonder if those drop down menus common in software are really so dangerous. Better stay away!

This one made me feel that whoever put up the sign was really, really concerned for my safety.

But this one still has me stumped. What is empty? And why should I be careful on it?

Here is my favorite of all. It captures that feeling I have when I can't find a name or a word I am looking for. Or when I think about this year's presidential election.

Just so you know my mind hasn't slid too far, here are a few more photos from the China trip. Yangshuo is a beautiful area and its citizens are kind and warm. It is definitely worth a visit.

Surveying the scene in Yangshuo

Yangshuo vendor

Fencing, one of bamboo's many uses

Detail of a door in one of the "ancient villages"

Sunset in the Yangshuo countryside

Typical old style farm house

In the Xingping market

Transaction in the Xingping market

Raftsman along the Yulong River

Rafting along the Yulong River

In the Yulong River Valley

The Yulong River

View from atop Lao Zhai Shan: Xingping, the Li River and karst towers

1 comment: