It’s always nice to be home again in the U.S., but then again, it’s always nice to get a taste of China. When you are abroad, there is nowhere better to do that than Chinatown. Boston’s Chinatown is very small, taking up about three city blocks. Yet it is special. That small spot on the map has the power to you can transport you back to China.
Chinese people stroll around. Men group together playing Chinese chess. The signs are in Chinese. In the evening, loads of Chinese gather in the square. Your mind floats and “China” comes streaming through your senses. Everybody, it seems, is from South China. Cantonese is the main tongue. A laoban in a restaurant laughed to me, “Your Chinese is better than mine! We never speak Chinese. We always speak Cantonese here.” And so for me, as a Beifang laowai, a Qingdao laowai, it seems like I am traveling to a different part of China! “Lay ho!”
The joy here is in ordering Chinese dishes and drinking Chinese tea; in speaking Chinese while you stock up on Chinese cooking supplies and yuanxiao. When I am here in America, in the state of Massachusetts, I am sure to return often to Boston’s Chinatown.