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This actually happened to me

Another blog from:             Anthonyslark@yahoo.co.uk


My old friends will already know about this very embarrassing thing which happened to me on a long distance train in China several years ago when I was on a one month backpacking trip by road, rail and air.. It wasn’t the train in the picture but an express train from Hangzhou to Guangzhou (Canton). The journey time was twenty seven hours and we were travelling in a hard class sleeping car.

We were seated in our compartment and seated opposite to us was a very pleasant Chinese couple who didn’t speak a word of English. The train miraculously wasn’t full so we had plenty of room on the seat and the couple opposite placed some full supermarket bags on the seat near me.

About an hour after leaving from Hangzhou I was feeling hungry and we had been to a supermarket in Hangzhou to buy water, tea, snacks, instant noodles, chocolate, biscuits and bread.  I took a plastic bag and started rummaging through it to see what we could easily prepare in our seats. The bag was quite full so I took out many things and placed them on the seats. NSC was also interested in eating and the very friendly Chinese couple opposite were smiling so I took out some oranges and biscuits and offered to them. They were very polite and declined.  I selected two noodle pots because on Chinese long distance trains there are urns of boiling water at the end of each coach for passengers to use for their tea and instant noodles. I again asked the friendly couple if they would like some noodles but they declined with smiles.  I went to make the noodles at the end of the coach and NSC and I satisfied our hunger. I was confused because I couldn’t remember buying the same flavour noodles.

Suddenly it hot me like a ton of hot bricks. They were not our noodles. I asked NSC but he didn’t know. I looked again at the bags and oh my God, I had been rummaging through the shopping of the friendly Chinese couple sitting opposite. I had offered them their own food and we had eaten their food and they hadn’t shown even the slightest annoyance. I felt myself going very red. I felt terrible. I tried to explain to the couple opposite  who had watched the whole thing in silence. But of course they couldn’t understand my words.  I quickly found the correct pot noodles in our own bags and tried to give them to the Chinese couple but they just smiled and declined. I offered them chocolate, red wine, everything I could find but they just declined with grins from ear to ear. I guess they had understood from the beginning that I had made a huge mistake.

This was one of the most embarrassing times of my life.


24 thoughts on “This actually happened to me

      • Well I had terrible problems in Korea because I couldn’t blow my nose at the table but the spicyness of Kim Chee was too much for me.

      • I know exactly what you mean. My hosts went to a great deal of trouble to make me an English trifle one evening. I enthused a lot about it because they had gone to so much trouble. Then it appeared on my plate for breakfast – how does one explain?

      • Sol, I’m sitting here laughing at that one. Well my hosts asked me every morning what I’d like for breakfast but they wouldn’t accept my answer of bread and jam. They felt uncomfortable giving me so little and they never realised that that’s what I usually eat and enjoy. I still eat either bread/toast and jam or porridge. Always with a big mug of tea.

  1. Oh Dai I could just imagine the scene – it had me giggling reading this. They were indeed a very lovely couple – I wonder what they were thinking while you were rumaging around in their stuff?

  2. Hi Dai, Ha ha – I knew about halfway through that you must have been eating their noodles. Very lovely and patient couple indeed. In today’s day and age, I don’t know if many people would have just sat back and smiled at such a scenario. It was very embarrassing for you indeed- but also funny and embarrassing when you look back, isn’t it Dai.
    How is your Sunday starting Dai? We’re having a gorgeous, sunny but chilly Sunday here. I think I will just learn some driving and later relax at home.

    • Hi Pooja. A wonderful couple to sit their smiling while watching me taking out their noodles and eating them hahahahaha. But it wasn’t so funny at the time when I realised what I had done.

      It’s 8:51 am here in Lisbon and as usual I’m in lazy mode. I need to go out to extend my transportation pass by another month. Today is the last day and I have to go by bus to the nearest metro station where I can extend my pass. And my toaster stopped working so I need a new one urgently. I have a friend coming for two days, from Germany, and my nephew Kumar is also arriving this evening. So when I get back I will start cooking dalbhat and chicken curry.

      This morning I was feeling quite cold here and I must say that the feeling was nice after all the hot dry months. I just put on some warm clothes but the temperature today should be 25c which is not bad. By Tuesday it should be up to 31c once more and I hate that.

      Talk to you later, Pooja. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  3. Oh my goodness. That is a great story and heart warming too that strangers can be so tolerant of someone rummaging through their things. I imagine you will remember that for many a year! And I am thankful to your other commenters for teaching me not to blow my mose in Asia!! I have a lot to learn!

    • Hi Amanda and good morning. Yes I will never forget that amazing incident in China. When I was in Korea I was like a yo-yo at the table and we had Kim Chee because I kept having to run to the bathroom to blow my nose

      • Oh no! That sounds awful! Customs are so interesting. And I have never had Kim Chee but I would at least be forewarned about the nose blowing and the need to leave the room!

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