Maria Holland

卡坦 (Catan)

In Uncategorized on March 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Our sink broke this morning, and semi-flooded our balcony.  I was pouring out the water from a tub I’d used to wash clothes, when I noticed that the water was passing directly through the sink instead of neatly going down the pipes.  I thought this was rather strange, until I took a look at the pipework under the sink:


Yeah, it’s just what it looks like.  They used a cut-off water bottle to fill in the gap between the drain and the PVC pipe.  Shockingly, this high-tech modification gave out and caused our balcony to flood.  Guess they don’t make cheap, disposable water bottles like they used to.

I’ve called the service desk three times today, both ends of the line getting increasingly frustrated.  She’s annoyed because I have obviously unrealistic expectations of getting such a problem fixed in the same day, while I’m frustrated because I can’t remember the word for sink.  Oh, and also because I know that this game is played very differently in America, and the rules require me to pester them into doing what I want. 

I would be more understanding about having to wait if I weren’t totally aware that the average workday in China consists at least half of wasting time.  It appears to actually be in their job descriptions.  This is the real reason why cell phones that can text, play music, and surf the internet are so popular in China; instead of being banned on the job like they are in America, they’re practically required.  After waiting on cashiers to respond to a text, or sitting by patiently while my travel agent continues the QQ conversation I interrupted, I will be much more appreciative of the customer service in America.  (Although, we don’t tip here.  I guess you get what you pay for?) 

I had class this afternoon.  I really like my teachers; the oral teacher is so enthusiastic that she was even beaming when discussing 自杀, one of our vocabulary words that means “to commit suicide”.  We had an epic debate in class today on the subject TV watching, that came down to the question of whether or not reading magazines by candlelight was bad for your eyes.  It was a lot of fun and we spoke a lot, but I do wonder if by midterms I won’t feel the same as I did last semester – that the class is too easy for me.  I may take the 三年上 test tomorrow to see if I can change to 3rd year.

I went to see Lester in the afternoon and accompanied him to another CT scan.  He’s starting to look like a pincushion from all the IV needles, but the test showed improvements.  I had a little bit of time before meeting Aleid for dinner so I took a stroll around the McDonald’s building.  And there, on the second floor in a small knickknack shop, I stumbled upon . . .

Catan 中文版!  That’s right, I finally found a copy of The Settlers of Catan in China!  Even more amazing, they sold it to me for 98 kuai, which is about $13 (and about a third of the price in America).  I managed not to wet myself, but I definitely made some awkward squealing noises and told everybody in the shop that they had to buy the game and try it.  (They also had Carcassone and some other card games, so I may be going back.)

Most of it looks just like the American version; there’s actually more German on the box than Chinese (Spiel des Jahres vs. 中文版):


The hexes and resource cards are exactly the same:


Until you look at the development cards, you really can’t tell what language it’s in:


I made a quick scan of the rules and discovered that we correctly translated a good bit of it!  I’m super excited because I’m set to teach Carlos and another Chinese friend how to play this weekend, and I think it should be easier with a Chinese set. 

It totally brightened up my day.  Between the sink and my horrible cough, it hadn’t been a particularly good one until Klaus Teuber, patron saint of board gamers, answered my prayer.  Incidentally, though, I’m feeling quite Chinese regarding this cough.  First of all, I think I got it from breathing the same air that the other 1.3 billion Chinese me are breathing, but also my first thought on how to soothe my throat was to drink 开水, or hot water.  Maybe I’ll develop this habit after all . . . it does feel pretty good on my throat.   

Lastly, a few links and comments:

I’ve added pictures to two old posts from the Chinese New Year and our guacamole party

I just found out that Kum Yu-na, the figure skating gold medalist from South Korea, is Catholic!  Apparently she made the Sign of the Cross during one of her performances.  (I would have known this if I could have watched, but I’m not bitter.)

Aleid felt her building shaking this morning, so I wasn’t too surprised to hear about today’s earthquake in Taiwan, which I’m sad to hear hit the area that is still recovering from typhoon Morakat.  In case you were wondering, we’re fine in Xiamen and there wasn’t even a tsunami warning – although looking at the map of Taiwan makes me realize how close Xiamen is to Taiwan

  1. I am so glad you didn’t wet yourself! You’re a Holland, after all, and have some pretty high expectations to live up to, esp. in public.

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud of you.

    • I read the text of your comment and assumed it was in response to my not killing Lester with my medical translation. But then I realized it was you, and you were proud of me for finding Catan in Chinese. You’re ridiculous! But yeah, finding 卡坦 was cool too :)

      • Actually, I was thinking that she meant she was proud of you for not peeing in your pants!

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