A walk along the Zhujiang

The Pearl River, or Zhujiang, is the third longest river in China. After the Huang He, or Yellow River, and the Chang Jiang, the long river. Also called the Yangtze-Kiang, which is the longest river in Asia. Jiang means river. But so does He. Mai means buy. Or sell. Yi means one. Or one hundred million. The pronounciation differs, though, as do the Chinese characters. So we’re ok.

Four thousand words are all you need to do well in Chinese, two thousand will get you by. English has many more words, well over 70,000. Which in Chinese would be Qi Wan, or seven ten-thousands. Maybe such issues make business here difficult. Business is buysell, maimai. But the two mai sound different… So we’re ok.


And America is Meighuo, beautiful country. Mei Hua is beautiful flower. Hua Cha is flower tea – or jasmin tea. The Portuguese word for tea? Cha. The Japanese Tempura cuisine? Tempero means seasoning in Portuguese. Key in Kikuyu, a major tribal language in Kenya? Chave. In Portuguese? You guessed it: chave. It amazes me that a small country in Western Europe, which in the late 1400’s had only 400,000 men, could have had so much interaction with the east.

But a small country needs to reach out to larger nations: in culture, language and trade. Which is why we find Martin Behaim, the Bohemian from Nurenberg, addressing the group of pilots and captains gathered at Lisbon University to learn the science of the discoveries from King John’s Mathematical Junta:

http://www.theindiaroad.com/blog/1486 – The Golden Palm.pdf

And now it’s time for one of the great Chinese institutions, the foot massage. Or if you like expensive words, reflexology. Nihao.


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