Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Don't Answer The Phone

The phone rang around an hour after Ryan and I had gone to bed last night. Roused from a deep, peaceful sleep, I picked up the phone and mumbled in response to the gibberish coming from the other end. At least I surmise that's what happened. I clearly remember that the phone rang, but I don't really remember having a conversation or anything, I just remember wanting the person on the other end to let me go back to sleep.

Half an hour later, a doorbell rings. Can that be our room? Do hotels even have doorberlls. Another ring. Maybe it's next door. Hopefully they'll go away. Another ring. Fuck. I'm going to have to get up.

I stagger to the door, and open the door a crack, the door chain preventing a full opening. A woman is in the hallway, telling me something I am competely not understanding. Is she speaking Shanghainese or something. Then a second woman appears. "massage" she says, and makes a gesture which could be taken in multiple ways.

Ah. So that's what's going on. A couple of Ji (chicken, Chinese slang for prostitutes) "bu yao" I say, "wo xiang shui jiao" (I don't want it, I want to go to bed), I say and shut the door.

I read in the Rough Guide that Chinese prostitutes sometimes call random hotel rooms to offer their services but I had never encountered it. On further reflection though, youth hostels don't seem particularly amenable to that sort of behaviour; our current hotel, on the other hand, is somewhat nice, inhabited by lots of Chinese business travelers, but not one of the ritzy western chains, where prostitutes may not be welcome.

So next time you're in China, and the phone rings at night, don't answer. And whatever you do, don't incoherently mumble something that will be taken as "I want sex massaggee" (that's what most of them say).

In other news, every Uighur restaurant in Shanghai sells hash - I have been offered it over five times today alone, and in the same manner that Chinese people sell DVDs (Hello! Hashish!)

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