Future in China for Andrew?


Ben has always kept bottles of water in our cup holders for us. As soon as I found out that he was buying them I told him that I would buy the water from now on. I knew that we were out so I told him 2 days ago that when I went to the store I would get what we need. I usually tell him before I go in that I’m going to pick up water. I didn’t do that today so I guess he thought I forgot (he knows me well). As I waited in the checkout line he got my attention and told me that he had already bought the water.  

When I got in the car I thanked him for buying the water, in Mandarin. Literally I said, ” Thank you buy water.” He chuckled and told me that it’s bad luck to say “buy water” in China. I have to say buy a bottle of water, or a liter of water or a box of water (box full of water bottles that is – I’m not talking boxed wine). 

Evidently in China, not so much nowadays but they do still exist, there were professional mourners. People were paid to cry and wail and moan at funerals. Uh-huh, complete strangers. If one didn’t have enough family and friends or the loved ones wanted to give the appearance that the deceased was well-loved, they would hire people to attend.  Therefore you were buying water (tears).

So the next time you’re in China do not thank your driver for buying water or if someone approaches you on the street asking to buy your water, say NO. It will involve a funeral, crying, and acting like you care that a stranger has died. Hmmm, if the acting thing doesn’t work out for Andrew in the US……

5PM – 64°


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.

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