商旅稀客 / Infrequent Business Travelers



在杯装方便面随处可以买到之前,食物不合胃口是中国早期商务旅客在海外遇到的大问题 /
Homesick stomachs were a big problem for early Chinese business travelers abroad, especially before instant cup noodles became widely available
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商旅稀客

上世纪80年代初,我协助安排一个中国商务代表团出访北美,之后在纽约机场与他们会面,又陪同他们度过了一段行程。

像国际经理人来华一样,那时候也是中国企业经理人出国旅行的早期阶段。

这个特殊的代表团来自中国内陆的一个省份,成员都是平生第一次出国的企业高管。这是一个让他们激动不已的机会。

他们一方面兴奋不已,另一方面,抵达北美后,他们又难以忍受初次倒时差和西餐。为了让他们好受一些,我们花了很多时间寻找唐人街,可即使是那里的食物,也让他们失望。

抵达北美几天后的一个早晨,我们乘坐美国主办方安排的一辆小型客车外出。

车走得很慢,我们有很多时间聊天。坐在我前面座位旁边的一位中方代表团成员转过身来,对我说,他今天上午感觉非常困。

“可能是时差的原因吧。”我说。

“时差也许只是部分原因,”他回答,然后悄声地对我说:“更重要的原因其实是我的同屋睡觉打呼噜,特别响!因此我几乎一夜没睡着。”

停了片刻,他又问我:“外国人打呼噜吗?” 我觉得这是一个好笑而又可爱的问题,就像我们真是从另一个星球来的。

一时间,我性格中顽皮的一面让我很想对他这么说:

“不,李同志,我们不打呼噜,而且连屁也不放。”

但是,我没有这样做。我还是老老实实告诉他真相:我们也打呼噜。至少,我们当中的有些人在有些时候还是会打呼噜的。他看起来似乎松了一口气。

Infrequent Business Travelers

I helped arrange for a business delegation from China to visit North America in the early 1980s, and then met them at the airport in New York, and accompanied them for a good part of the trip.

This was still early days for Chinese business executives traveling abroad, as it was for international executives visiting China.

This particular delegation came from an interior province of China and consisted of executives making their first trip abroad. It was an exciting opportunity for them.

On the one hand, they were excited. On the other, after arrival, they were struggling with their first jet lag and western food. We spent a lot of time looking for Chinatown to ease their suffering, but even then the food was disappointing to them.

One morning after we’d been in North America for a few days, we were driving in the minibus which our American hosts had arranged.

Traffic was slow, so there was plenty of time to talk. My neighbor in the seat ahead of me, one of the Chinese delegates, turned around and told me he was feeling very sleepy that morning.

Probably jet lag, I said.

Maybe partly, he said, and then speaking in a quiet voice, he said: “But the real problem is my roommate’s snoring. Very loud! I couldn’t sleep most of the night because of it . “

After a brief pause, he then asked me: “Do foreigners snore?” which I found a hilarious and delightful question, as if we really were from another planet after all.

For an instant, the mischievous side of me was tempted to answer:

“No, Comrade Li, we don’t snore; and we don’t fart either.”

But instead I told him the straight truth that we too snore. At least some of us, some of the time. He seemed somewhat relieved.


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