Sunday, April 20, 2008

Vax on vax off

As a foreigner, it is difficult to communicate in Shanghai at any given time. Often, even if you do speak Chinese, people will look at your appearance (i.e. your skin colour), and assume they won't understand you before you even open your mouth. Other times you have the problem of mixing dialects and other Shanghai-centric slang to overcome.

However, English is becoming more and more common, and these days if you go to a place catering to foreigners, you can be fairly certain you will be able to use English with the staff.

This serves me well, but it is still a problem for the many, many thousands of foreigners living in Shanghai from non-english speaking countries.

The other day I walked into a beauty salon which caters to foreigners almost exclusively. The salon offers massage, facials, waxing, and manicure/pedicure services. The woman who had walked in off the street in front of me, walked up to the counter and in a very thick accent (Russian?) said:

"I vant a vax please."

The receptionist behind the counter stared at her blankly.

"Excuse me?" she stutters.

"A vax. VAX. I vant a VAX!"

"A... I'm sorry... a.... what?"

"VAX! VAX VAX VAX! You know, a VAX!"

More stunned mullet looks ensued. At this point I felt I should help her out.

"She wants a wax."

The receptionist had a lightbulb moment: "Oh, a WAX! Well why didn't she say that?"


'er said...

Remember Dr B and his problem with the letter 'v'? - womiting, wiruses and wains!

Liesl Cowley said...

OMG I am laughing so hard! this is great!