Thursday, May 10, 2007

Assimilation

I don't think I have ever mentioned it on this blog, but the Chinese have a habit of walking the streets in their pyjamas*, at any time of day or night. It is not unusual to see a grown woman doing the grocery shopping in pink pyjamas emblazoned with teddy bears, or to witness a middle-aged man bedecked in satin paisley while discussing business on a cell phone.

So far I have resisted the trend, although I have ducked out to the convenience store in track pants that I would normally keep under house arrest in any other country.

However, last night, suffering from my second cold in three weeks, I joined Phil on the back of our scooter in my pyjamas (just black cotton pants and an oversized t-shirt, but clearly not day wear) and my slippers, for a quick trip to the supermarket.

I must say that I felt very Chinese- like it was something that was bound to happen eventually, and I couldn't think why I had resisted for so long.

I must have looked pretty Chinese too, because we had only got one street away before the driver of the car stopped at the lights next to us asked us for directions.

To be stopped for directions by a Chinese person in Shanghai is relatively unheard of. Astonished, Phil and I calmly told him where he needed to go, and then only managed to drive about 500m away before shouting with joy that we have finally been accepted into this society!

Or at least my pyjamas and slippers have.

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*ok before we have an indepth "discussion" about the spelling of "Pyjamas" I've looked it up:

py·ja·ma (pə-jä'mə, -jām'ə)
n. Chiefly British
Variant of Pajama.

3 comments:

Phil said...

I'm sure it was the slippers...!

The guy must have looked over and first thought: "well they're driving a scooter around, they probably know the area... nah! thy're foreigners! no way!!"

But then slowly it creeps up on him... "hummm yeah she is wearing pyjamas... but then again everyone does, so that doesn't make her a local."

Analysing the couple on the scooter he looks down and notices the slippers on Lou's feet... rolls down the window "how do I get to Jiangsu lu?" he asks in Chinese.

Gabby Girl said...

I've taken the trash out in my pjs but I haven't walked further than that. I have thought about it a few times, thinking to myself - no one will freaking care!

Louise said...

That's the thing- you fit in more IN your PJs than OUT of them!!