The Haircut

Miko and Wang Lihua at the World Expo

Last Friday Kevin, Wang Lihua, and I flew to Shanghai for a business meeting. After the meeting we went out for dinner and after dinner some karaoke. I actually sang several songs, ok sing is perhaps not the correct verb to describe what I did, shriek, screech maybe. One of the songs I did was Poker Face. Oh yeah, there was a little alcohol involved obviously. I had a great time.

The Huangpu River. The Pearl Tower and a Starbucks Coffee shop on the other side.

After an early morning wake up, Miko picked us up and we headed over to the World Expo. The Expo was huge and we probably walked 5 miles or more while there. After eating lunch we drove to downtown Shanghai to see the sights and walk some more.

Very large crowds at the World Expo so there were lots of signs reminding people to be nice.

Our flight back to Weifang was delayed by a couple hours so the airline fed us a meal while waiting at the gate. It was delicious.

What can I say?

Fast forward to Wednesday. After work on the way back to the hotel Kevin dropped me off at Salon Misa for a haircut. The Chinese word for haircut is Lǐfǎ but fortunately, Li Qing was with us so she went in the make sure they understood what I wanted. The first thing they did was wash my hair and massage my scalp. Then the cutting began. The guy working on my hair was working like a sculptor chiseling on a block of marble. Snip, snip, snip. Step back, look. Snip, snip, snip. When he was finished they took me back and washed my hair again. Then back in the chair for a few last minute snips to perfect the work of art. The entire process took just over an hour. Total cost 20 RMB, about $3. I almost feel guilty.

I then walked over to the bus stop to take the 15 bus back to the hotel. This is when the real fun began. I would later find out that the 15 bus stops running at 7pm and it was now 7:15pm. While I was waiting a lady on a bicycle stopped and asked me if I spoke English. You betcha, yes ma’am. She told me she was a teacher at the local college which was just a short walk from there. She actually taught Korean. English was just a hobby for her. She would be giving a speech in an English speaking contest on Saturday and she was hoping I would help her by editing her speech. I don’t know, I’m pretty busy. But you aren’t doing anything right now, she said. She said we could go to her office which was very near. What the heck? What kind of scam is this? I don’t know. She was persistent and seemed very nice so I said what the heck. So we start walking down the sidewalk. She said her English name was Rebecca. She was asking me a million questions. I’m keeping my eyes open waiting for her gang to attack me and steal my wallet. We made it to her office ok, no gang, nothing funny. The place looked like a school. We sat down and I read her speech. It was actually a very nice speech, but there were several sentences that were a little off. I understood what she was trying to say, but it just wasn’t the way an American would say them. The term she used to describe it was Chinglish. I’d heard that term before. I made some edits and then read it to her. We discussed how to pronounce certain words, voice inflection for emphasis. It was pretty neat. After we were finished with the speech she asked if I would like to meet her class. I’ve come this far why stop now. Sure, let’s go. We went up two floors and I waited in the hall while she went in to tell them she was bringing in a guest. When I walked into the room there were lots of oohs and aahs. You would have thought some pop star had entered the room. These kids were really excited to see me.

The new Skyler and I

They took turns telling me their names and asking me questions. How long have you been here? What do you like best about Weifang? Do you like China? One girl said she didn’t have an English name and asked if I would help her find a good one. Oh boy, nothing like being put on the spot. The first thought I had was, well my daughter’s name is Skyler, how do you like that? I wrote it on the board and she loved it. Later she asked me if I would always remember her. I assured her I would never forget her. As I was getting ready to leave I remembered to take some pictures to commemorate the event. Good thing I did because if I didn’t have proof I can’t imagine anyone would believe this story.

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