The Kande International Hotel (where I am staying in Huizhou) is the first 5-star hotel in the region, according to Echo Hu, the Guest Service Manager. It is a brand new hotel, and has only been opened for a month, so they are still working some of the kinks out.

One thing, that I find simultaneously frustrating and funny, is the staff’s grasp of the English. I don’t expect to come fairly deep into China and find that everyone speaks English, or anything… if the situation were reveresed, I would have even fewer phrases in Mandarin to talk with (made even worse by the fact that I’m deep in Cantonese country). Having said that, it seems like most of the people know some basic English phrases like:

.: Good morning – used as a greeting to an obvious gwai lo… no matter what time it is. I also noticed this in Taipei.
.: Would you like, yes? – which seems to be just some gibberish English to fill space. I honestly do the same thing in the US when I’m expected to comment about something but don’t really have anything to say. “Umm, yeah, well that’s the thing.” or something like that.
.: etc, etc

The funny part to me is that it seems like most everyone knows what to say, just not how to react to the answer. I’m not sure my waitress knew why I was stifling laughter when I came back from the breakfast buffet to find a cup of coffee… despite the fact that I had answered, “No thank you,” to her question, “Would you like coffee or tea?”

To their credit, my hosts are certainly doing a good job of dealing with my ignorance. They’ve yet to accidentally kill me by horribly misunderstanding some request for water, and I’ve only embarrassed myself as much as they probably expect from a stupid American.

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