At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Sunday, October 09, 2016


On the way to Marin this morning some Mainland tourists were hogging up the seats. Six couples (twelve bipeds) who did not wish to sit with each other, OR at the window seats. Or allow anyone to sit next to them. When they got off at the bridge, over twenty people from further back in the bus moved forward. There. They're gone. Them and their horrible sounding language. A person of Cantonese appearance hissed "sze dalu-ren" at their departing fatty backs, and harmony settled over the bus.

[Sze dalu-ren: 死大陸人 "dead (damned) mainland person". Which in proper Cantonese pronunciation would have been 'sei taai lok yan', but then the overfed fuerhtaipiaogun (富二代表群 'fu yi-doi piu-kwan') would not possibly have understood. Many mainlanders from places away from the coast do not understand anything other than Mandarin, being in that regard very much like our fellows from the flyovers with the English that Jesus spoke.]

For about ten minutes I got to listen to Hong Kong Auntie vociferate on her cellphone about those folks. I should have taken notes, but I was too obsessed with crawling into my skull and getting the serious head-time that the Mandarin-speakers had prevented.

When she got off in Marin City she was still disgruntled.
Those seats further back are very uncomfortable.
And smell like pot smokers.

Unlike native speakers of Cantonese, I actually like Mandarin types. They are so delightfully innocent and un-knowing of many things. It's like dealing with people who have lost their owners manual.
I say this in the friendliest way possible.

But in all honesty, all their vacation photos are probably going to be so boring. EVERYBODY has the bridge, the pyramid, the crooked street. Instead, they should go to East Oakland, and see how the locals live. Perhaps score a drive-by or a transaction in the background of their pictures. "This is me in front of a massive police presence", or "look at all the friendly natives". You know, something unique and educational.
Think of the stories they can tell when they get home.

And it will contribute bucket-loads to cross-cultural understanding.

While simultaneously not pissing-off the Cantonese.

Or, for that matter, anybody else.

Seeing as A) there is a Cantonese person in my apartment, B) I head down into Chinatown a lot, and C) I can speak Cantonese to a limited degree, you can understand that 'the-not-pissing-off-of-Cantonese persons' ranks very high on my priority list. The Cantonese are, in some regards, my canaries in the coal mine. If any Cantonese people in my immediate vicinity are steaming mad, it may affect me or rub off.

Possibly there are very good reasons for off-pissedness, or they are full of boundless generosity about sharing it. Vociferously. At length.

Sending Mandarin-speakers to East Oakland is benign self-interest.

I too want them to have a memorable experience.

Somewhere else.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Dave said…

    To the Honorable Mr Back Of The Hill:

    I have been attempting to learn the names of vegetables in several languages. Recently, I was greatly aided by your helpful comments on a blog post. But now I am sorely pained that this wellspring of knowledge has dried up. Please again enlighten me as to the names of tubers in every conceivable tongue.

  • At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Try Wikipedia and Google Translate.

    For instance: Potato.

    Among others: Eorþperu. Акартош. Má-lêng-chî. Krompir. Lilek brambor. Nímasii. Huăng-giāng-sṳ̀. Grumbeer. Buđeita. Kartofin. Petat. Bolbė.


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