One of the first things that any expat or visitor to this city learns after “níhǎo” and “xièxie” is bit of taxi vocab. A little “turn left, turn right, stop here” (zoǔ guai, yòu guai, tíng zhe li) can go a long way, especially when you’ve had one too many drinks and you’re slurring your native tongue, let along tonal mandarin. But we’ve all had our share of situations where elementary mandarin doesn’t quite cut it.
So you’ve finally flagged a cab and gotten him to pull over… he sees the state of you and your entourage and shakes his hands at you implying he doesn’t want your drunk ass in his taxi. You protest:
“Wǒ meí yǒu zùi! “ – I’m not drunk
If it works, he lets you in. As any good cab driver knows, the more fares per hour, the more money to be made, so a few 16 kuai cab rides can be had in a short period of time if you drive like a lunatic. But tonight the alcohol coursing through your veins isn’t taking kindly to his driving style, so you warn him-
“Kaì màn yī dǐan! Wǒ yǎo tù lē” – Drive a little slower, I’m going to throw up.
He slows down for a minute but as soon as he’s on Yan’an Lu its pedal to the metal and you’re in the back shouting
“Tíng chē, tíng chē! Wǒ yǎo tù lē!” – Stop stop, I’m going to throw up
If he’s kind and pulls over, a total disaster can be averted. Chances are you’re feeling a bit drowsy and the blue lights of the elevated road aren’t helping the spinning sensation. Better if you just close your eyes. You kindly ask
“Dào lē- qǐng jìao xǐng wǒ” – Wake me up when we arrive.
You finally get to your destination, and instead of letting the meter run while you snooze your kind shīfu wakes you up and tells you to get out of his cab… but then he spots something and tries to pin it on your night out… the pile of vomit on the floor of the cab
“wǒ mén méi yǒu zaì ni chē shàng tù! Běn laí jiù yǒu dē” – we didn’t vomit in your taxi, that was already there!
Shīfu is probably irate at this point, but you’ve proven yourself a lǎowài that speaks mildly coherent Chinese when plastered. Maybe he even got a chuckle out of it. You ask for the fapiao and as you exit the cab, give him one last taste if your Chinese prowess
“wǒ zhǐ zaì hē zui shí huì shǔo hàn yǔ” – I only speak Chinese when I’m drunk
A big smile and you’re on your way.
You march up to your door, and to your dismay a pile of vomit wasn’t the only thing you left in the cab… you dig out the crumpled slip of paper and dial away-
“níhǎo, wǒ xǐang wǒ bǎ yào shì diū zaì ni dē chē shàng lē” Hello, I think I lost my keys in your cab….
Shanghai Pub Crawl: Thursday night offer
Text your name plus the word “squared” to 15921614544 to receive a ¥20 dicount from the ticket price.
Meet @ O’Malley’s at 9:15pm on Thursday