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China Elevator Stories

“Zdravstvuyte! Do you speak Russian?”

I’m greeted in Russian at a market in Siping.

23/05/2016

Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr

Author

When I’m at the local vegetable market one day, a Chinese seller in his 40s says: “Zdravstvuyte!”
I tell him, in Chinese: “Sorry, I don’t understand.”
He repeats: “Zdravstvuyte! Do you speak Russian?”
I reply: “I don’t. I’m not Russian.”
He then says: “Zdravstvuyte! Kak dela?”
I explain: “Maybe if you tried Northeastern Chinese dialect on me, I’d be able to understand more.”
He repeats, practicing his Russian on me: “Kak dela?”

Thanks to being greeted a lot in Russian these days by people in Siping, I’m now able to understand “Hello, how are you?” in Russian (which is the extent of my knowledge of phrases in this language).

Have you ever been in a similar situation?