Archive for May, 2007

are you from pu tao ya?

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

ding-dong, ding-dong. said the intercom for the first time since we moved in.

– hello?

– wai?

– hello?, i repeated.

– do you… speak… mandarin?

– ah, no.

– ah, are you from… ah… pu tao ya*?

– hum?! erm, yes!

– i am police man. i want to see you.

i press the button to open the door downstairs and i raise an eyebrow while i put down the intercom. a police man? and he wants to see me? at 9.30pm? did i break any serious chinese law without being aware of?

18 floors after, he appears. very skinny and young, in a blue uniform, carrying a shy smile on his face and some papers on his hands. takes off his shoes at the doorstep despite our invitation to come in with them. his eyes always set on the papers.

– are you this?, he asks me pointing my name on the papers regarding the mandatory police registration i filled some days before.

– yes? is there any problem?

– no! no! no problem! i’m in charge of you, he explained.

– oh?

– can i see your passport? oh, and this number no work, pointing to my phone number on his papers.

we offered him a seat and a few quick questions later he jumps back into his shoes and leaves, even shyer than he arrived.

we closed the door and waited a few seconds for someone to come out and say ‘smile, you are in candid camera‘. or anything. but no.

so, now we have someone in charge of us.

* pu tao ya, is chinese for ‘portugal’