Three guys who probably just turned 18 come up to me. One asks me if they can take a picture with me. I say yes, but it will cost 100 Kuai per picture. He takes out his wallet, jokingly. After taking a picture with every single one of them, he says:
“May I ask you a personal question?”
I: “Of course.”
He: “Why do you look so sad? Have you just fallen out of love with someone?”
I: “I haven’t. I have probably just heard too many people call me laowai today. It can get on your nerves if you hear it too often.”
He: “I see. You know, we’re from Guangdong, we would never call you laowai.”
Another one chips in jokingly: “We’d only call you gweilo.”
The literal meaning of gweilo is actually much worse than that of laowai, with the former often being translated as “foreign devil” and the latter as “foreigner”. But seeing as they were only joking, I feel a lot more cheerful already. We chat for a little longer before they get on the bus that will take them back to Guangdong and I walk back to my guesthouse.