Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't worry girl, I know a place

As Gus and I were walking to dinner tonight, we passed a group of six women handing out advertisements on one of the bridges near our house. They were all walking in a clump and they were all dressed in what looked like flight attendants' uniforms. Normally people dressed as flight attendants handing things out would trigger some deep-seated "snack mix" reflex which would cause me to immediately accept whatever they were passing out, but I've been burned so many times by boring, incomprehensible, poorly-produced Chinese advertisements that I've decided to stop taking things that people give me on the street.

(Also, all of the women said, "Hello, Hello, Hello" to us over and over again as we passed, which is a straight ticket to no-thank-you-ville. Trust me, ladies, a 你好 really would work much better.)

Gus, being a more trusting and probably better person than I am, continues to grab advertisements from people on the street. That's actually turned out to be a fairly good move for us, because we've discovered two new restaurants that way, including a Vietnamese restaurant that sells delicious Vietnamese coffee for 5 RMB a cup. 5 RMB! For reference, that's cheaper than the attractive new coaster that I bought today for 8 RMB. (The coaster says "The Godfather Part III" on it. I had to buy it as part of a set because I needed the first one to show to my cinema class.)

Tonight, as is his habit, Gus took the advertisement that the flight attendants on the bridge were handing out. I don't have anything else to talk to you about, so I thought I'd share it with you now, because it's sort of troubling in a ha-ha-ew sort of way.

(Speaking of sort of troubling, I was just reading a Harper's Week in Review article which quotes the Ugandan minister for ethics and integrity, who supports a measure to make homosexuality a crime punishable by life imprisonment: "We believe there are limits to human rights. We are talking about anal sex. Not even animals do that." Look, gay rights activisits, let's get one thing straight: we are talking about anal sex. I mean come on. I'm surprised the legislators are even able to discuss it without throwing up.)

So, the ad.

Let me unpack this for you with a little bit of my Chinese skillz. The 休闲房 at the top means "leisure room," and the red writing below says that this leisure room rents for 100 RMB per 4 hours. (Exchange rate: 20 cups of Vietnamese coffee, 12.5 copies of The Godfather Part III.) Below that, the red writing means "Buy 6, Get 1 Free." I'm not sure whether that means 6 hours or 6 different 4-hour uses. Either way: that's a lot of time with prostitutes in a leisure room.

There are two fun things about this ad. One is that the red 送可乐 next to 休闲房 means "Free Cola!" Not only do you get 4 hours with the prostitue of your choice for 100 RMB an hour (prostitue not included), you get a delicious cola, which you can enjoy before, after, or during sex with your prostitute.

The second fun thing is that this ad isn't an ad at all: it's a pack of tissues! Usually only restaurants give out tissue packs as ads (because napkins are not free at Chinese restaurants; you have to buy small packs of tissue with your meal), but I think it's somehow appropriate that the Hanting Express also uses tissue packs to sell their product. (The Hanting Express is the name of the hotel chain, but I'll race you to UrbanDictionary.)

One more thing about tonight: based on the response of the school security guards, city construction workers, and the rest of Guangzhou's citizens, I'm happy to tell you that the daily flood of what seems like hundreds of gallons of feces-scented water coming out of a small hole in the middle of the sidewalk in front of the school is no cause for alarm!