I was one happy tourist. Sitting at the front of the bus. Having the double seat all by myself. Even dozing off and playing games on my ipad by making stupid faces during the horrid traffic jams through Beijing. Fie and I made quite a reputation to being the first to hop off the bus and also the first to hop on. Hehe. We were called the "ideal tourists" by Ms Lili.
It was on this fourth day that I was questioned by the tourist guide on my status and other personal questions. I felt uncomfortable at first and so did she. She said she was afraid I'd be offended by her questions. But being curious on how offensive her questions were, I encouraged her to ask.
What caught me off guard was that the questions were asked by the bus driver who unfortunately doesn't know how to speak in English. The dialogue as I recall it began like below while waiting for the others to finish their zuhur prayers at a mosque. I finished early. We were sitting on the second row seats of the bus as our bags and luggage were stored on the first row. The driver was sitting on the steps waiting for Ms. Lili to ask me the questions. I was sitting near the window and only saw his eyes above the seats.
Ms Lili: The driver says he has a question to ask you. But I'm shy to ask. Scared you get angry.
Me: Eh.. No lah. You can ask me anything. (*I smiled)
Ms. Lili: He wonders why you cover your hair.
Me: (lauging) Well, it's simple actually. First to show that I'm a Muslim. Second... (pausing a long while), is keeping myself for the husband. Only him can see what's beneath. (*practically blushing by then, don't know why. Reflexes)
Ms Lili looked me over and smiled.
Ms Lili: OK. Hold on. Let me explain to the driver. (and she translated to the driver in the Chinese language)
A few minutes later. She was laughing about something and looked back to me.
Ms Lili: I like your answer. It's very good.
Ms Lili: He also wants to know, how come it's legal that Muslim men can have four wives?
Me: He can IF he is rich enough to take care all of his wives. Marrying four women is a luxury not all men can have. (Ms Lili nodded and explained to the driver.)
Ms Lili: Can Malaysian girls marry Chinese men? (Her question seemed fishy at the time)
Me: Sure. Fie has a Chinese boyfriend.
Ms. Lili: Owh, and how about you? Can you consider marrying a Chinese man?
Me: I have no problem with that. Why?
Ms Lili began talking to the driver and then she looked at me.
Ms Lili: The driver is interested. Can you take him as a boyfriend?
Me: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Isn't he married?
Ms Lili: So can?
Me: If he's a muslim.
Ms. Lili: Oh!
She explained the situation to the driver. I looked at him when she did this and I said "Sorry" over the seats when our eyes met. By then the bus was filling up with the other tourists and the driver moved back to his driver's seat.
|The "boyfriend" in blue|
I managed to avoid crossing paths with the driver most of time until the very last day. The drive to the airport.
Ms Lili: How about you bringing your boyfriend to Malaysia?
Me: No money! Haha.
Ms Lili: Is it easy for him to find jobs in Malaysia?
Me: You gotta ask the CEO at the back for the job.
Ms Lili: So, don't want to marry him?
Me: He has to convert to Muslim first.
Ms Lili explained my answers to the driver before coming back to me laughing like mad.
Ms Lili: OK, he says if he converts to Muslim, will you let him have four wives?
I began laughing like a mule at this question and answered as politely as I can. My answer? Let me and the people on the bus know and you to find out. =p
The farewell at the airport was brief. The driver stayed on the bus while we whisked our bags away. Just before entering the departure hall, I looked back at him and waved. He gave me the biggest grin that I've ever seen and he waved cheerfully back.
Guess that's the last time I'll see him. Hehe. Wanting four wives konon! Hurmphhhhhhhh!
OK, will continuing my Beijing travelog soon. Thank you for reading!