开放前的广交会/Before The Open Door:The Canton Trade Fair



东方宾馆对面的广交会会场/Canton Fair Complex Opposite the Dong Fang Hotel


开放前的广交会

改革开放前,国际商务旅客来华,主要是去参加中国进出口商品交易会,也就是人们常说的广交会。直到改革开放后,获得广交会时间以外的来华签证和前往广州以外的城市才变得容易一些了。


20世纪70年代,大多数参加广交会的外国旅客都被安排在东方宾馆下榻。1978-1979年间,外宾和海外华侨的数量急剧增加,宾馆的管理人员花了很大力气来改善服务质量,解决投诉问题。

其中一个投诉是蟑螂,这里的蟑螂数量多,个头大,十分猖獗。


一家美国家居用品公司和东方宾馆的管理层开了一场技术座谈会,讨论使用工业害虫控制产品对付蟑螂。



公司承诺的灭蟑效果打动了东方宾馆。他们下了订单,把灭蟑设备部署在宾馆的地下室——这里是蟑螂的大本营。

不久,78年的广交会开幕了,宾馆里住满了旅客,很多人都说,蟑螂减少了很多。


不幸的是,清除蟑螂带来了意想不到的后果。灭蟑药足以杀死宾馆地下室里的蟑螂,但只够骚扰一下老鼠。老鼠也生活在地下室里,数量甚至比蟑螂还多。



由于难闻的化学特质进入了生活空间,老鼠开始向宾馆上层大规模迁移,入侵客房、走廊、餐厅和公共场所——到处都能看见大群乱窜的老鼠。


在老鼠入侵的一个晚上,我的好友和同行、一位会说中文的美国人正在东方宾馆的客房里熟睡。当时没有空调,但客房里的床头桌上都放着一台电风扇。

突然,我的朋友被床头桌上的怪声吵醒:先是”咣当”一声巨响,接着是一连串”啪、啪、啪”的声音。


他开灯查看,立刻惊呆了:原来,一只老鼠从墙上摔了下来,半截身体掉进了电扇的罩子里,转动的扇叶把老鼠的皮毛和尾巴搅成了碎片,朝着他的脸和枕头吹了过来。
 

他感到一阵恶心,跳下床,冲到走廊,奔向服务台。两个年轻的宾馆女员工睡在那里。当时已经是凌晨3点了。

看到这位人高马大的外国人穿着睡衣冲上走廊,双臂乱舞,大声喊叫,她们当然被吓坏了,就像我的朋友被老鼠吓坏了那样。


他极力向她们解释。他想说,我的房间里有个老鼠,请她们想办法尽快处理掉。

可是,恐惧让他的普通话走了调。他把”老鼠”发成了”老书”。


两位年轻服务员听到他情绪激动、反反复复地说:”我的房子里有个老书!”显然,这位外国人已经发疯。 

带着困惑,她们来到他的房间调查。房间没有老书,她们发现了已经死掉、秃毛断尾的老鼠,并很快做了处理。

到下一届广交会,老鼠也消失了。

Before The Open Door : The Canton Trade Fair

The Chinese Export Commodities Fair, or Canton Trade Fair as it was known, was the main venue for international business visitors to China until the Open Door policy made it easier to get visas outside of Fair time and to visit cities other than Guangzhou.

During the 1970s most foreign visitors to the Fair were assigned to the Dong Fang Hotel. In 1978-’79 the number of foreign and overseas Chinese visitors climbed sharply, and hotel management made efforts to improve quality and address complaints.

One such complaint had been the cockroaches, which were plentiful in number, large in size, and very self-confident.

An American household products company had given a technical seminar to the Dong Fang Hotel management on the use of industrial pest control products to deal with the cockroach problem.

The hotel was impressed by the promised results. They placed an order, and the bug bombs were deployed down in the bowels of the hotel – the cockroaches’ head office premises.

The Spring’78 Fair opened shortly thereafter. Visitors filled the hotel, and many of them commented on the impressive reduction in the cockroach population.

Unfortunately, there was an unintended consequence of the successful purge of cockroaches. The bug bomb chemicals had been strong enough to kill the roaches down in the basement, but only strong enough to annoy the rats, who shared the same habitat and were even more numerous than the cockroaches.

With their habitat invaded by bad-smelling chemicals, the rats began a mass migration to the upstairs floors of the hotel. They invaded the guest rooms, the corridors, the dining rooms and common spaces — all in great numbers. Rats were everywhere to be seen, scurrying and scampering.

My good friend and colleague, a Chinese-speaking American, was fast asleep in his room at the Dong Fang one night during the rat invasion. There was no air conditioning in those days, but guest rooms were equipped with an electric fan placed on the bedside table.

Suddenly my friend was awakened by a strange noise coming from his bedside table : a loud “cling-clang”, followed by a repetitive “whack…whack…whack” sound.

He turned on the light and saw, to his shock and awe, that a rat had fallen from the wall and landed partly inside the cage of the electric fan, where the spinning blades were causing bits and pieces of rat fur and rat tail to fly in the direction of his face and pillow.

He jumped out of bed in disgust and ran down the corridor toward the service desk on his floor. Two young women hotel staff were asleep there. It was 3 a.m.

The sight of this large, noisy foreigner running down the corridor in his pajamas with arms waving wildly no doubt shocked them as much as the rat had shocked him.

Endeavoring to explain to them what had happened, he intended to say “There is a rat in my room!” and request that they find a way to remove it ASAP.

Unfortunately, in his moment of panic, his Putonghua tones got sloppy. Instead of saying the word “rat” (laoshu) in the proper Chinese tones, he said “old book” (lao shu) instead.

“There is an old book in my room !” was what the two startled young attendants heard this apparently crazed foreigner say, excitedly and repeatedly.

Puzzled, they went to his room to investigate. Instead of an old book, they found the now dead, balding, short-tailed rat, which they summarily removed.

By the time of the next Fair, the rats too had disappeared.



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开放前的广交会/Before The Open Door:The Canton Trade Fair》上有 10 条评论

  1. rlstar 说道:

    quit impressive!I really got a lot of fun from the article. It’s really a poor material era,and my siblings even have no chance to get rid of the cockroaches and rats from their houses. In Chinese eyes, their always give the best to the guests,even they themselves can’t enjoy the good things.

  2. 东海后学 说道:

    多谢博主的文章,让我们重温那个时代。往事如烟

  3. Ricardo Ha-Lo 说道:

    I heard that since then the hotel restaturant added a new item to its menu: ratatouille.

  4. Donna 说道:

    Funny! I had a rat shimmy down my curtain in the Dong Fang, right around the same time. Must have been trying to escape the cockroach poison. Who knew!

  5. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  6. keyele 说道:

    实在很宝贵的记录,连中国人都没有这么有心留下这些照片和文字

  7. sibuxiang 说道:

    Thanks , Maura !

  8. Maura 说道:

    :lol :D :) :lol :lol :lol :lol :lol
    This is hysterical! And I love phrases like, "plentiful in number, large in size, and very self-confident"
    Maura

  9. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  10. 超级小强 说道:

    原来小强们这么强悍!

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