The Husband’s parents are visiting and after a lot of deliberation between driving and taking a guided tour, we settled on a 6 day guided bus tour along the east coast. The tour covered Philadelphia, Washington, Niagara, Boston and NYC.
Despite all the research and reference, we somehow found ourselves on a tour bus where everyone other than us, including the tour guides, spoke Chinese. Or Mandarin, if you please. Phillip, our guide for the first 5 days, managed to communicate hilariously in English. He clearly did not hold American food in high opinion, dismissing it as “buffalo wings ..and all that“. Our guide on the NYC tour, whose name Phillip had informed us was Yang, knew just about enough English to point out to the tourist attractions and tell us what they were.
For 5 days, we had Chinese buffet lunches and dinners, visited every Chinatown en-route, and heard enough Chinese to pick up a few words. I now know, Ni-how is a form of greeting. Mostly Good-Morning or probably Hello. Chol (or Zholl) is the Chinese equivalent of the Hindi Chalo, which means Lets go.
Even the bus back, started from a stop in NYC’s Chinatown and dropped us off at an obscure bus stop next to a Chinese restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware. The bus, ofcourse, was again filled with people of Chinese ancestry.
Under the Husband’s disapproving, why-can-we-not-get-normal-food, I-will-NOT-eat-this eyes, I picked up some scallion buns at a little bakery in Chinatown. They taste very good with schezwan sauce. Or even butter.
On the way back, a thoroughly exasperated Husband says “I feel like I’ve crossed the border and reached CHINA!!” On being congratulated for accomplishing what Christopher Columbus set out to do, he asks “What has Columbus got to do with China?” I explained that Columbus set out to find India. He wanted to find a new trade route to India, China and the rest of the east. His coming to America was an accident. He thought he had found India, which is why he went around calling the Native Americans Indians. A genuinely amused Husband then remarks “So COLUMBUS didn’t discover America. The (American) INDIANS did!!”