Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Smoking Exchange

I just had dinner tonight with a friend who flew into Beijing via Shanghai yesterday.

He told me that he had three-and-a-half hours to kill at Shangai Pudong International Airport before flying to Beijing so he decided to go to the airport's smoking room and smoke a cigar.

A young 20-something woman who was responsible for cleaning the smoking room asked him if he had rolled the "cigarette" himself, as she'd never seen a cigar before.

He explained to her it was a cigar and while it was rolled by hand, he didn't do it himself.

From there they struck up a conversation.

He asked her how her job was, working in the airport.

"Hai bu cuo", or it's not bad.

Then he asked her how much she made.

"Yi qian kuai qian", or 1,000 RMB ($146.43) a month.

At this point I said she probably didn't have much education which explained the low wage.

Then she started lecturing him on how he shouldn't be smoking, and he told me she didn't sound like she wasn't uneducated in this area.

He retorted to her that while he did know the dangers of smoking, he'd already been doing it for decades already.

Then she told him that her husband used to smoke four packs of cigarettes a day... until he developed cancer.

Perhaps she works in the airport's smoking room in the hopes of persuading other smokers to quit?

Sounds like a woman on a mission.

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