The Light that Kills Mosquitoes
22 May 2007
Tonight I went out to pick up a few items. I wanted to get some drinks and a bug zapper light. (Summer is slowly seeping into Shanghai in all its steamy unpleasantness, and with it comes the skeeters.)
The grocery store was already closed, so I turned to one of the little hardware/general shops that line the road.
> Me: 有杀蚊子的灯吗？ (Do you have lights that kills mosquitoes?)
> Shopkeeper: 么哇某某灯？没有。 (Something-something light? Nope.)
> Me: 叫什么？ (What’s it called?)
> Shopkeeper: 灭蚊灯。 (Bug zapper.)
> Me: 哦，谢谢啊。 (Oh. Thanks!)
> Shopkeeper: 不谢。 (No prob.)
The word doesn’t have the refined feel of the word for mosquito coil, 蚊香 [literally, “mosquito incense”], but at at least it’s easy to understand. Literally, 灭蚊灯 means “extinguish mosquitoes light.”
So I didn’t get my bug zapper light, but I got a new word. Armed with the new vocabulary, I quickly asked three other shops. None of them had any “extinguish mosquitoes lights” either. I failed my mission, but I had a new word cemented in my memory.
It made me nostalgic… I used to learn so many new vocabulary words that way, but I only just realized how long it’s been. Carrefour just isn’t as fun.
Note: If you’re reading this via RSS feed, then my experimental “fuzzy response” CSS effect (on the shopkeeper’s initial reply) probably didn’t carry over. Visit the site to see what you’re supposed to.