I am just back from a couple of days in the mountain villages of rural China. Only a local can do this, so three of them took me for a tour – visiting people, hiking up past the dragon shrines and into even more villages. Meanwhile, over many shots of the local fire-drink, we decided to explore some of the more meaningful terms that really need to be shared across cultures.

I began by indicating the correct way to say ‘maaaate’. As in:
‘Good, mate’.
‘G’donya, mate’.
‘C’mon, mate’.
And the great one, ‘maaaaaaate’ (with a dropping and then rising inflexion and the great Australian vowel production.

So how to translate? Our local boy suggested that ‘maaaaaate’ is expressed by ‘bixude’, with a long stress on the ‘xu’, as in bixuuuuuuuude’ (high accent on the ‘u’). This is said among, well, the best mates.

And what about ‘beaudy, mate’? This one is easy: ‘hao gemener’

Meanwhile, we visited some homes, including a fantastic man with a pipe handed down from his father’s father’s father. The tobacco is home-grown.

A village at the end of a hike, where the locals thought it perfectly normal for a foreigner to emerge from the trees:​

And given that this area is close to a remote section of the Great Wall, we hiked up to that as well:

But there are more things you can do on the wall apart from hiking, such as testing the facilities:

And of course photographing your painted toenails (as one does):

Thanks to this great bunch for making it all happen:

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