The Hens


You might think I’m referring to a group of women at the apartment complex, British females at a bachelorette party,  or perhaps real hens whose feet are on the chopping block. Nope, I am referring to our drivers. I have learned in the 3 weeks that I’ve been here that they are like a bunch of women at the coffee klatch. I see them congregate in front of our building in the morning or at the gazebo here in the afternoon.  Yesterday when I looked out my front window there were 3 of them just chatting up a storm. Ben was one, A’s driver was another and I couldn’t identify the third but they were just talking away.

Why hens? They all know our business and share it amongst themselves!

When I went to the wet market last Wednesday A’s driver told me that my driver was so happy to be a dad. I didn’t know that he knew  Ben was my driver. The next day when Ben  picked me up for my Mandarin lesson he asked me how the market was. I almost felt like I had been caught cheating.

 The kicker was yesterday when I was sitting in A’s car waiting for her to come out and chatting with her driver (his English is limited but we manage). He asked me how mahjong went on Tuesday! If I had been drinking water I would have choked. So here’s the convoluted story of how he knew.

Tuesday Anders told Ben that I wouldn’t need him for my lesson because I was playing mahjong in the complex instead. Yes, I played hookey and I’d do it again. Ben laughed – laughed I tell you. He told Anders that his wife and mother have played games that last for 2-3 days. I guess that’s why it was funny. I can only assume that at the first opportunity Ben tattled and all the drivers were having a good laugh about the Westerners getting together to play an ancient Chinese game that takes years to learn. Nah, I don’t really believe that. But I do know Ben told A’s driver because A’s driver asked how mahjong went. As soon as A got in the car I did my own tattling, 2 can play the hen game.

 I also learned through A’s driver that Ben is an excellent driver! Evidently there are no rules as they even dish on each other 😉

Last Friday night there were about 16 of us that went out for drinks and a light dinner at a pub before heading out to a hotel for a comedy night. While taking us from the pub to the hotel I asked Ben if he had eaten yet. He said that after they dropped us off  at the hotel they were all going out to eat ( I’m guessing that there were about 5 or 6 drivers). Now that I know what I know I would love to have been a fly on that wall.

Ben took me to the wet market today after my lesson. He knew which one and directed me to the ba ding/scallion pancake place. He did his homework. I’m also going to the same hair stylist that A uses and he’ll get directions. I probably won’t even need to tell him what day and time I have my appointment 🙂

I hope that no one misconstrues this post. I adore Ben with all my heart.  I just think it’s funny that no matter where you go in the world people are the same. If you’re hanging out with friends with time on your hands, you talk. What do you talk about? What you know. What do these men know? Us.  And that is comforting.

2:30PM – 97 degrees  (I can tell time in Mandarin!)


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

2 responses »

  1. Hi Karen – I have been meaning to check out your blog. Finally did. Took awhile to catch up on all your adventures. Sounds wonderful! So happy you guys are enjoying yourselves. Our love to you and Anders both. All well here. In the busy get ready for school mode. Have been to 3 back to school events in last 2 days. One more tonight – freshman orientation for Tim. Went shoe shopping with my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law and 12 kids last weekend. Amusing!

    Went to OBX a few weeks ago. Had great weather. Saw tons of fish, skates and dolphins literally jumping all the way out of the water. Kris got to come for the whole week. Played badminton all week – our new family sport. Had a great time!

    Getting ready for hurrican Irene this weekend. Hoping my roof gets blown off so insurance co. can pay for new one instead of us! Dad thought that was funny. I am just trying to see the upside of a hurricane!

    I also suggested to Dad that he and Kris should come see you together. He seemed to like that idea. I figure that then Dad won’t have to travel by himself, and Kris will keep talking the whole time he is there so you won’t have any awkward silences! Kris said – oh great – what if Dad dies on my watch? I figure it is better than how long it would take us to find him if he was alone at home since he takes forever to call us back. (My grandfather just died, and was dead in his house for 2 days b4 anyone found him because he often does not call people back. My very senile grandmother was in the house, but doesn’t even know her own name, so she couldn’t have called anyone to help. Crazy! – I tell you this by way of explaining why we were discussing Dad dying. We are really not that morbid nor are we hoping for this event!)

    Anyway – I have nothing nearly as exciting to share as all that you have been sharing on your blog. But we think of you guys often and will look forward to hearing more. Love- Karen

    • Anders and I were cracking up last night reading your comment. The whole thing about dad is just too funny. However, I think it’s a great idea for them to come together. I would feel a lot better about dad traveling if he had a “companion”. Then that would mean that you could come by yourself and we could have some fun. Not that Dad and Kris aren’t fun but just us girls out and about? I know that you will soak up every bit of culture this place has to offer.

      I think you could start your own blog about raising 5 kids (and doing a stand out job) but the first entry I’d want to read is taking 12 kids shoe shopping. That’s entertainment.

      Love, ME

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