Jin Tian shi xing qi er, er ling yi er nian, qi yue, san hao. Ming tian shi qi yue si hao!
That’s right. I’m learning Mandarin. This says that today is Tuesday, July 3, 2012, and tomorrow is July 4th! It’s written in pinyin, which is an English way of writing in Mandarin. If you look at the subway sign below, you can see that most text here is written in characters and pinyin, which shows how to pronounce the characters. And if you’re lucky, signs like this one are also written in English.
In just two lessons, I’ve learned how to say lots of useful phrases, such as “bu la” if I want to tell a waiter not to make my dish spicy, or “Wo shi mei guo ren” if someone is wondering where I am from. I can also ask for dumplings (jiaozi), OJ (cheng zhi), or noodles (miantiao). It’s very exciting!
Anyway, unfortunately my Mandarin is not strong enough for me to use to write about my day, but here are a few photos of one of the highlights, paddle boating on a lake called Hou Hai, in the Hutong Area. It was really nice.