Taking a Chinese Taxi

Posted on 29. Jan, 2015 by in Uncategorized

In the last post, I introduced some useful vocabulary for taking a taxi in China. As I mentioned, cab drivers are one of your best resources for practicing Chinese, and they can also give you great insights into Chinese culture and daily life. I’ve had many a conversation with Chinese cabbies over the year, and they tend to go in the same direction. We like to joke around that cab drivers always ask foreigners the same ten questions, which makes it pretty easy for you. Here’s a sample conversation between a lao wai and a Chinese driver, in which you’ll see a lot of the vocab mentioned in the last post. Try to read it in Chinese, refer to the pinyin below if necessary, and then read the English translation.

You'll have plenty of time to chat while you're stuck in traffic.

You’ll have plenty of time to chat while you’re stuck in traffic.

Chinese

你好,师傅。
去哪儿?
我想去一个饭店,但是我忘了中文名字。
你有地址吗?
有啊,等一下。看我的手机,这是他们的地址。
我看一下。。。好的,知道了。
离这儿远吗?
不太远。二十分钟就到了。
好的。

你是哪个国家的?
我是美国的。
美国人啊。美国是好地方。USA!奥巴马!
中国也是!
你到中国多长时间了?
四年多了。
四年了!怪不得你的中文那么好。
不太好。马马虎虎。
你也知道马马虎虎!太好了。
我喜欢中国的成语。
你喜欢中国菜吗?
很喜欢。中国菜非常好吃!
我们可以听音乐吗?
可以,没问题!

我觉得我们快到了。你知道这个饭店在哪儿吗?
知道。下个红绿灯右拐。
好的。然后呢?
一直走。前边就是。
在这儿吗?
不是。往前走五十米。这个饭店在医院对面。
好。看到了。
在这里停车吧。多少钱?
二十块。
有零钱吗?我只有一百。
有啊。找你八十。
可以给我发票吗?
可以,稍等一下。。。给。
谢谢。
不用。慢走!
再见!

Pinyin

nǐ hǎo, shī fù
qù nǎ’er?
Wǒ xiǎng qù yī gè fàn diàn, dàn shì wǒ wàng le zhōng wén míng zì.
Nǐ yǒu dì zhǐ ma?
Yǒu a, děng yī xià. Kàn wǒ de shǒu jī, zhè shì tā men dì dì zhǐ.
Wǒ kàn yī xià… Hǎo de, zhī dào le.
Lí zhè’er yuǎn ma?
Bù tài yuǎn. Èr shí fēn zhōng jiù dào le.
Hǎo de.

Nǐ shì nǎ ge guó jiā de?
Wǒ shì měi guó de.
Měi guó rén a. Měi guó shì hǎo dì fāng. USA! Ào bā mǎ!.
Zhōng guó yě shì!
Nǐ dào zhōng guó duō cháng shí jiān le?
Sì nián duō le.
Sì nián le! Guài bù dé nǐ de zhōng wén nà me hǎo.
Bù tài hǎo. Mǎ mǎ hǔ hǔ.
Nǐ yě zhī dào mǎ mǎ hǔ hǔ! Tài hǎo le.
Wǒ xǐ huān zhōng guó de chéng yǔ.
Nǐ xǐ huān zhōng guó cài ma?
Hěn xǐ huān. Zhōng guó cài fēi cháng hào chī!
Wǒ men kě yǐ tīng yīn yuè ma?
Kě yǐ, méi wèn tí!

Wǒ jué dé wǒ men kuài dào le. Nǐ zhī dào zhè ge fàn diàn zài nǎ’er ma?
Zhī dào. Xià gè hóng lǜ dēng yòu guǎi.
Hǎo de. Rán hòu ne?
Yī zhí zǒu. Qián bian jiù shì.
Zài zhè’er ma?
Bù shì. Wǎng qián zǒu wǔ shí mǐ. Zhè ge fàn diàn zài yī yuàn duì miàn.
Hǎo. Kàn dào le.
Zài zhè lǐ tíng chē ba. Duō shǎo qián?
Èr shí kuài.
Yǒu líng qián ma? Wǒ zhǐ yǒu yī bǎi.
Yǒu a. Zhǎo nǐ bā shí.
Kě yǐ gěi wǒ fā piào ma?
Kě yǐ, shāo děng yī xià… Gěi.
Xiè xiè.
Bù yòng. Màn zǒu!
Zài jiàn!

English

Hello, expert (a word used for drivers and other skilled people).

Where are you going?

I want to go to a restaurant, but I forgot the Chinese name.

Do you have the address?

Yeah, wait a second. Look at my phone, this is their address.

I’ll take a look… OK, I know it.

Is it far from here?

Not too far. We’ll get there in just 20 minutes.

Great.

What country are you from?

I’m American.

Ah, American. America is a good place. USA! Obama!

So is China!

How long have you been in China?

Over four years.

Four years! No wonder your Chinese is so good.

It’s not that great, just “horse-horse tiger-tiger” (an idiom meaning “so-so.”)

You also know “horse-horse tiger-tiger”! Great!

I like Chinese idioms.

Do you like Chinese food?

Yes, very much. Chinese food is very delicious!

Can we listen to some music?

Sure, no problem!

I think we’ll be there soon. Do you know where this restaurant is?

Yes, I know. Take a right at the next traffic light.

Ok, then what?

Go straight. It’s just straight ahead.

Here?

No. Go straight 50 meters. The restaurant is opposite the hospital.

Ok. I see it.

Stop the car here. How much is it?

20 RMB.

Do you have small change? I only have 100.

Yeah. I’ll give you back 80.

Can you give me a receipt?

Sure, wait a moment. Here you go.

Thanks.

Don’t mention it. Take it easy!

Goodbye!

Hello, expert (a word used for drivers and other skilled people).

Chinese Taxi Cab Confessionals

Posted on 26. Jan, 2015 by in Byki Lists, travel

When people ask me where and how I learned to speak Chinese, I often reply by saying, “In Beijing taxis” (在北京出租车里面 – zài běi jīng chū zū chē lǐ miàn). Although I say it jokingly and it’s usually followed by laughter from the Chinese person, I’m actually quite serious. When I first started taking Chinese lessons in my spare time, I had a pretty busy schedule: class for two hours, an afternoon workout, and then a full day of teaching. Other than my Chinese lesson in the morning and ordering lunch, that left me with little time to actually practice. As an English teacher in a Korean school with American roommates, there weren’t exactly a lot of opportunities to speak Chinese. This may seem strange as I was living in China, but it’s the truth.

Image by Michael Coghlan from flickr.com

Image by Michael Coghlan from flickr.com

Thanks to my late work schedule, public transportation was all shut down by the time I got off for the day. As a result, my school had to pay for my taxi rides home, which was of course fine with me. It was in these long rides across Beijing that I finally began to put my mediocre Chinese skills to use. Over the next few months, I went from struggling to have my driver understand where I wanted to go, to having full on conversations that lasted the duration of the ride. I came to quite enjoy chatting with cabbies in Beijing, as they’re usually quite talkative and especially curious to converse with a foreigner.

Throughout the years, I’ve had some of the best conversations with taxi drivers all around China. Sure, come cabbies can be a bit pushy and in your face – especially outside of train stations and tourist attractions – but most of them are genuinely nice guys who appreciate good conversation. After all, if you had to drive around in the chaotic traffic of Chinese cities for 12 hours a day, wouldn’t you want someone to talk to? In my experience, taxi drivers have been more open and forthright in discussion than most people I’ve talked to in China through the years. From a Beijing driver telling me plain and simple that he didn’t like Xi Jinping, to a Kunming cabbie complaining about the rising cost of living and stagnant wages, drivers have given me an insight into the way a lot of people here think, but won’t dare speak.

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Learn how to take a taxi in China in this episode of “Local Laowai.”

While having conversations with your Chinese cab driver is great and all, you have to build your language skills up to a certain point to be able to do that. First and foremost, you have to make sure you get where you’re going. To help you in your quest to take Chinese taxis and eventually get deep with your drivers, here are 25 useful words and phrases for hailing a cab in the Middle Kingdom:

English Chinese Pinyin
taxi 出租车 chū zū chē
take a taxi 打车 dǎ chē
taxi driver 司机 sī jī
expert/master 师傅 shī fù
turn on the meter 打表 turn on the meter
address 地址 dì zhǐ
Where do you want to go? 到哪里?/去哪里? dào nǎ lǐ?/qù nǎ lǐ?
I want to go to… 我想去… wǒ xiǎng qù…
Please take me to… 请带我去… qǐng dài wǒ qù…
Do you know…? 你知道… 吗? nǐ zhī dào… ma?
turn right 右拐 yòu guǎi
turn left 左拐 zuǒ guǎi
go straight 直走 zhí zǒu
traffic light 红绿灯 hóng lǜ dēng
near jìn
far yuǎn
in front of 前边 qián bian
behind 后边 hòu bian
next to 旁边 páng biān
across from 对面 duì miàn
stop the car 停车 tíng chē
here 这里 zhè lǐ
there 那里 nà lǐ
How much is it? 多少钱? duō shǎo qián?
Can I have a receipt? 可以给我发票吗? kě yǐ gěi wǒ fā piào ma?

After you’ve studied those words and phrases a bit, go through this video and follow along. The topic is getting a taxi to the hotel, so it’s a great one to study if you’re planning on visiting China. Cab drivers can be quite the chatty bunch here, but not in English…

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Fujian Tulou Video Tour – Part Two

Posted on 26. Jan, 2015 by in Uncategorized

The "king of tulou" from above.

The “king of tulou” from above.

In Part Two of our tulou adventure, visit the Gaobei cluster – home to the most famous earthen building of them all. The “King of Tulou” is a massive structure with nearly 400 rooms that once housed up to 800 people. While this is by far the most touristy section of the tulou, it’s worth a visit to take in this impressive structure and its surroundings.

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高北土楼群 – gāo běi tǔ lóu qún

Gaobei Tulou cluster

承启楼 – chéng qǐ lóu

Chenqqi Building

土楼王 – tǔ lóu wáng

King of Tulou

纪念品 – jì niàn pǐn

souvenirs

– chá

tea

烟草 – yān cǎo

tobacco