One evening in September 2013, I take a motorcycle cab back to my place. The driver asks me where I need to go. I tell him the name of the closest bus stop (which is also what I would usually tell cab drivers) and get on the motorcycle.
While driving, he asks: “What’s the name of the neighborhood?” (At least this is what I think he asked in retrospect).
I reply: “Sorry, I don’t understand. Can you say that again?”
He: “What neighborhood are you living in?”
I: “Sorry, I don’t understand.”
He: “I’m sorry, my Mandarin Chinese is really bad. It’s actually much worse than yours.”
I: “Where are you from?”
He: “From Meizhou.”
He: “Yes, Meizhou in Guangdong province.”
He: “Yes, Meizhou in Northern Guangdong.”
I: “I see.” (Epic fail at trying to understand the driver’s heavy accented Mandarin Chinese).
When we arrive at the destination, he asks:
“Are you from the US?”
I: “No, I’m from Europe.”
He: “Europe is really developed. I saw on the news that every family owns at least two cars.”
I: “That’s often true, especially for people living in the countryside. If you don’t have a car, you can’t get anywhere.”
I give him 7 Yuan and say goodbye. He thanks me and drives off into the night.
Have you ever had a similar conversation or problems conversing because you couldn’t understand the other person’s accent? I’d love to read your comments.