Seems like a lot of Chinese are serious. Walk down the street, you see more grim expressions vs big smiles. Initially, some might think not too friendly. But we found, numerous times, during our first week in Beijing, the opposite true.
We three took a taxi the other day, and the taxi driver wouldn’t let my dad open the left side back door. The driver’s English was as good as our Mandarin so we couldn’t ask why not open this door…. The taxi was parked on a street bike path (not usual for cars to drive or park here) on the right side of a busy street. When dad tried again to open the door, the driver turned around and gestured that if dad opened that door, and said ‘boom” as a huge grin displayed on his face. Without using words, we quickly realized what he meant. “If you open that door, a speeding bike will crash into you. “ And based upon the number of cyclists, moped, scooters zooming on his path, he was absolutely correct.
Few days later, another taxi ride, this time to someone’s house who works with mom. They live out, way out by out by the airport. In good traffic, about a 30 min drive. After about 40 minutes of driving and I had no idea where we where, the driver asked to confirm the directions. Luckily, with us was a friend, that English guy who speaks Chinese. Soon after, the driver announced he was turning off the meter because he made a mistake and so didn’t want to charge us anymore. Later dad said he as stunned, that driver was so nice, when does that ever happen….
The other day, I was at a local Chinese, kmart-ish like store with dad looking for a laundry basket. Couldn’t find anything basket like, so dad was moving around a stack of plastic containers when he bumped into another stack of tin containers and they hit the floor will a loud ‘bang’. About 15 seconds later, after I re-stacked the containers, dad knocked the same tins again, which resulted in another loud “Bang!” I laughed at him.
A nicely dressed young Chinese woman (not store employee) about 10 feet away turned toward dad and said in perfect English, “do you need some help?” She was very nice. I think my dad was embarrassed.