New Record, Opticians pt. II, and How to Recharge you Cell Phone Account

New Record

Holy smokes, yesterday’s photo gallery More Fun in the Philippines created a huge world-wide click storm, relatively speaking, for my blog, setting a new record for clicks to my blog.  Thanks to all three dozen or so of you who clicked through!

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The Opticians, Part II

I went to pick up my eyeglasses today from my new favorite opticians.  The new lenses are great.  The Mrs. Optician offered me my old lenses back, but 不用 I declined.  Then I asked them to look at a pair of cheap Shanghai glasses that I had bought, which in my drowsy state last night I had bent out of shape.  I thought about how I was going to express in Chinese that I had clumsily rolled over on my new glasses and bent them out of shape with my enormous weight…  but I realized it would take me until Thursday to figure out how to say that, so instead I mimed crushing them with my elbow, complete with a cute little lean. Whoopsie! (the actual crushing sound I made in Chinese was 嗯, which to me is a lot funnier that “whoopsie!”).

Mr. Optician had a look, and saw that the arms were uneven, so he started pushing them back into place, just by trial and error, getting them back into shape.  I started to say something like, “these are so cheap, I was afraid I would break them if I myself….”

“No no no!” says Mr. Optician, you just bring them here.

Today I was ready for rain, I wore proper shoes and carried my umbrella around with me all day.  By five o’clock it still hadn’t rained, so I asked the opticians 今天不會在下雨嗎?Isn’t it going to rain today?  They were like, no, hasn’t rained, not going to rain 今天不下雨。 So I said 今天不下雨因為我帶了雨傘, today it’s not raining because I brought my umbrella.  They had a good laugh at that.

By this point, Mr. Optician has my eyeglass frames right again, so he starts cleaning them up.  Mrs. Optician has helped me with my vocab requests, and I settled the bill.  Then I asked them, do you have better quality glasses that look like those?  Maybe I’ll come back on payday and buy some.

Mr. Optician immediately picked four off the wall to show me, they were really cool looking.   I saw that they were flexible titanium, and Mrs. Optician starts bending them in weird ways to show me how flexible they are.  你不能.. “嗯”, she says, miming the same elbow crush I had a mimed before; you can’t “whoopsie.”  Meanwhile, Mr. Optician is tying a pair into a giraffe, a flower, a dog…

I check the price tag, about $200.  No way, says Mrs. Optician, I’ll give them to you for less than $100.  Maybe I’ll go back on payday.  Do I need another set of glasses?  They are really cool.

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How to add money to your prepaid mobile account in Taipei

Step 1:  Go to the 7-11 on Roosevelt Road, next to Pucheng Street.  You will be greeted by  a nice kid, whose name tag says a bunch of things in Chinese, and then “Sham.”  Is that a name?

Step 2:  Tell Sham clumsily that you want to add money to your account.  He will mishear you and direct you to put your cell phone onto the Easy Card reader.  Let your mind explode a little as you realize that people must put their Easy Card (the debit card for subway and bus fare) on the back of their phones.

Step 3.  At this point, Sham realizes you’re recharging you cell phone account, not your Easy Card, so he distracts you from trying stupidly from trying to get the Easy Card reader to read your cell phone.  You’re trying to recharge your phone? he asks.  Three hundred kuai? (this is the minimum recharge).

Step 4.  Hand Sham three hundred kuai.  He will set it down and then go over to a cell phone recharging station and print out a ticket, which he scans in.  Then he takes your cash, and hands you the ticket, pointing out to you the code that you’ll need to enter.

Step 5.  Thank Sham.  Step to the side of the store and try to remember what number to call to recharge the account.  Was it 777?  Maybe if I call someone, a message will come on and tell me in English.  Call Skritter Jake‘s number, he’s out of town.

Step 6.  An automated message comes on in Chinese, saying… I don’t know, whatever it says.  And then an English translation… yes!  “your account is empty, sukka, go recharge it.”  (click).  Noooo!!!

Step 7.  Despair.  Your eyes will fill with tears.  Consider dialing 777 or 7777 or 77777 or whatever it was you vaguely remember.  Think about if you really need a phone, what with the miracle of facebook…

Step 8.  Turn to see Sham nodding and reaching for your phone.  He looks at the ticket he had given you, points to a random paragraph that’s a bunch of text, and then dials your phone:  777.  This is the number to call, he says, when you need to recharge your phone.  He points again to the random paragraph on the ticket.  At this point, Sham will go through the automated system for you, and punch in the number so that your prepaid account can recharge.  He hands it back to you when it’s done.  You’ll immediately receive a text message, saying that the recharge is successful.

That’s it!  Wasn’t that easy?  Step 9, thank Sham profusely.

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  • 牙刷 yáshuā: toothbrush
  • 行李箱 xínglǐxiāng: trunk; suitcase
  • 鏡片 jìngpiàn: lens; eyeglass
  • 度數 dùshù: number of degrees (used in China’s system for measuring eyesight)
  • 鏡框 jìngkuāng: picture frame / spectacle frame
  • 鼻子 bízi: nose
  • 鼻墊 bídiàn: Nose pads (eyeglasses)
  • 以為 yǐwéi: think (mistakenly); consider (that); believe
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