Best NOT to Understand Chinese

Over the weekend I made a day trip to Qinhuangdao, a port-city about 3 hours east of Beijing.  I went over to do a cross-cultural communication training session for some recently-arrived Americans.  I took the express train out there, ate lunch, lectured, and was on the 4:00 bus back to Beijing. WhenI arrived in Qinhuangdao,  I hopped a cab to the training site, and enjoyed seeing how much the city has changed since my last visit 5 years ago.  It’s actually a lovely city, being made even more so, since it will be one of the Olympic host cities (the football stadium is there).  Anyway, I ended up with a nice taxi driver who was surprised and thrilled to have a foreign passenger he could talk to.  Eventually, he asked me where I was from, and I told him the US.  "Oh," he said, "I didn’t think you were an American."  "Why not?" I asked him.  "Because Americans are beautiful!"  As soon as he said it, he whipped around and said, "no, no, you’re beautiful too….it’s just…."  Right.  Whatever.  I decided that he was just assuming all Americans look like movie stars…..At any rate, it was one of those moments when I thought it might be nice not to be able to understand Chinese!!!