Wednesday, 7 January 2009

More Chinese mysteries solved.

I had a wonderful discussion with a Chinese teacher - and have learned a few more things about these complex people.

Several weeks ago I attended a conference in Hangzhou, and my room mate was a Chinese teacher. Oddly during the night she had a shower (flooding the bathroom) did not use any towel or bathmat, and disappeared in the night. I had many questions about this experience. Did I do anything wrong? Nothing I recall. But even then, I was told that a Chinese national could not room with a foreigner. She could not do it.

My Chinese friend added further to the mystery. My friend, whose name I will not use, but for this exercise will refer to her as C, gave me some explanation.

Chinese girls in particular are very suspicious of the linen used in hotels. They don't believe that the linen is clean. So they take their own towels. (So my mystery room mate used her own towel when she showered.) C said that she could never get into a bed in her night attire in a hotel, but would go to bed fully clothed. Just take off her shoes and coat.

No doubt the Chinese teacher was very uncomfortable with a foreigner for a whole range of reasons. It is surprising that knowing that, that the conference organisers would choose to put us in the same room. For me, it worked out OK for I did not want to share, but would have had to pay a lot more money to be alone and I had already paid a lot to attend the conference.

As it turned out I did have the room to myself, without paying extra. I had understood the cultural difference would have made the young Chinese girl uneasy, but it is interesting to have more information on this.

Strange but true.

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