Beijing and Hong Kong
The other week, my girlfriend asked me if she could come along on my evening food tour. That night I had two guests, wasn’t sure from where. When they introduced themselves as Jeffrey and Vivian from Hong Kong and Beijing, my first thought was ‘Wow am I lucky!’ Because it just so happens that I had brought along a native Mandarin speaker. It totally changed the dynamic of the evening for the better, and having Elin there helped turn a great evening into an unforgettable one.
Singapore and Malaysia
Then last night I was meeting five people, again from origin unknown. When I learned they were from Singapore and Malaysia and native Mandarin speakers, I made a phone call: “Hi honey, what you doing? … That’s great, listen, how would you like to come on the evening food tour again?” That was about the last exchange I understood for the evening; as soon as the first ‘ni hao ma?’ came out of Elin’s mouth, I was finished. English out, Chinese in. I had been relegated to ordering food and asking for the bill.
Chinese Tour in Da Nang
Da Nang now has direct flights from Hong Kong and Singapore, which means Chinese-speaking tourists will be coming here in increasing numbers. While that’s tough luck for snobby locals who don’t like ‘Chinese people’, many businesses will benefit from increased tourist traffic. My Vietnamese is useful every day, whether doing food tours or not, but something tells me I should have worked a little harder at the Mandarin when I had the chance. Everyone’s gonna need it.
Want to do a Chinese tour of Da Nang local food? No problem, just tick the box to do the tour with Elin, a native speaker from Taiwan.