Since I came back from China, I've taken to calling my wife 爱人, coffeeshop aunties 服务员, taxi uncles 师傅, and random women 美女.
I've also learned to say 问题不大 and 没事.
I also notice that in China, they say 堵 for traffic jam, instead of 塞车.
Random dudes are called 帅哥, domestic helpers are 阿姨, cops are 公安, make a left is 左拐, and make a right is 右拐.
I also watched Prince of Persia on CCTV in my China hotel, entirely in Chinese.
It was odd watching Jake Gyllenhaal speaking Chinese. But the dubbing and voice acting was so good that I didnt think anything of it after a while. I am told Chinese tv is heavily dubbed, which is why they have such competent voice actors.
English speakers are still quite scarce, even hotel staff struggle when I ask for help in English.
On an MRT in Nanjing, my mom did meet a nice young man who spoke English well. She asked him, out of curiosity, "Are you allowed to eat and drink on your trains?"
He replied politely, "Yes, you are allowed to. This is not Singapore."
That is not the first time I've heard a Chinese national reference our nation's strictness. In their minds, we have less freedoms in Singapore than they do in China. They may be right in some ways.
Nanjing is hosting the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, and the Asian Youth Games in 2013. Our taxi driver told us that in addition to the 2 MRT lines already running, the city plans to finish another 4 lines by 2014. I read that they plan to have 17 lines by 2030. That's really fast development.
The MRT in Nanjing is pretty smooth. My only gripe is the lack of lifts for the elderly and disabled. Every station you go, be it MRT station, commuter train station or bullet train station, stairs are the most common mode of going up and down. Escalators seem to show up randomly. My mom, at age 70, had a real workout.
I had to help a grandmother and her daughter with a broken leg to carry her wheelchair down 2 long flights of stairs because the Nanjing MRT station didn't have a lift (or one that was obvious). The grandma was grateful but she followed me all the way down just to be sure I didn't run off with her granddaughter's wheelchair. I guess that sense of caution is not uncommon here.
Still, we found that the subway was the easiest to get around large cities like Shanghai and Nanjing even if the cabs were affordable. The jams are horrible and whenever possible, we took the trains. And if the train station was too far from your destination, there was always the motorcycle guys and motorcycle pedicabs waiting at the station entrance waiting to whisk you that last mile for a small fee.
Mom and I took a motorcycle pedicab from the MRT station to the Confucius Temple in Nanjing for RMB5 ($1). It was mad fun to feel the wind in our hair and we tried not to think too much about the possibility of slamming into a bus on those streets. We liked it so much, we took it again back to the station.
Guess we didn't know the Chinese word for "Don't know what is called dangerous".