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Friday, July 9, 2010


I've been trying to get someone to teach me to play mahjong (麻將 ma2 jiang4) ever since I got to Shanghai, but no one seems to take me seriously - or maybe they think it's too complicated to try to explain in English. But I'm determined to learn how to play before I leave China.

Today when I was poking around the tourist market, I saw a cute little mahjong set in one of the shops. I thought, if I bring my own playing pieces to the school, perhaps it will inspire some students to take on my project with me.

I asked how much the mahjong set was. The sales lady clicked on the keys of her calculator & then showed it to me: 180 RMB (about US $25). Ha! I said, & started to walk out. The sales lady gently grabbed my backpack & pulled me back into her shop. "How much you wanna pay?" She asked. I offered 20 RMB. "Impossible!" She exclaimed. I started to leave again. Again she pulled me back.

After a few more rounds of this, we settled on 40 RMB (a little less than US $6), & I had my very own mahjong set. (Looks like I'm getting a little better at haggling.) Now to recruit some people to play with.

The tiles are really tiny - little bite-sized pieces of plastic - but this mahjong set is the perfect size for traveling, & certainly won't take up much room in my suitcase when I leave here. Hm. I wonder how that fits into my 100 Thing Challenge.


michelle said...

So is majong different than the one I play on the computer at work? I think I want to learn to play too!

And I'm very proud of your haggling! That will come in handy the next time we travel together!

Nancy Lewis said...

I'm not sure if this mahjong is what you play on the computer. I'll know more this Saturday. I've finally recruited some students to teach me :)