J.K. on the top of the podium at the Bei Feng Mountain climbing race.
I was looking at the guy who was on the top of the podium after last Sunday’s climbing race on Bei Feng Mountain, and I started thinking back to the first time I met him. It was about two years ago. He came huffing and puffing up to me from behind while I was doing the 16-kilometer loop in Guangzhou’s university district, known as “Unitown.” The first thing he said was, “Hi. You look like a real pro, like those guys in the cycling magazines!” He then mentioned that he was friends with a bunch of other expat cyclists and he proceeded to name them – all 20 of them. He called himself “J.K.” but in my mind, he was “Mr. Squeaky.” That’s because his battered, hand-me-down aluminum bike was always crying out for lubrication. The chain was rusty, the derailleurs made a cringe-inducing whining noise. His frame was classic with downtube shifters and rough tig-welded joints. The brand was Motache, which some of us called, “Mustache.” He wore a baggy yellow Motache jersey that was two sizes too big for his elfish body.
The old J.K. on his aluminum frame with the shifters on the downtube, jersey two sizes too big. Water bottle supplied by Gatorade.
When he first started riding with us, he would show up in running shoes. He eventually graduated to cleated mountain biking shoes, which were usually caked with mud. Once he looked at the slogan painted on my steel bike that says, “Eddy rode steel, too.” He read it out loud, then asked, “Hey, who’s Eddy? What does this mean?” I told him it refers to Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time. J.K. gave me a blank look. I wondered if I was mispronouncing Merckx’s name in Mandarin. I explained that Merckx was the Belgian guy who dominated cycling in the mid 60s and 70s, winning almost every race he rode in. Still nothing. I told him that when he got home, the first thing he needed to do was Google Mr. Merckx. For me, knowing about the sport’s history – the exploits, heroism and dramas of the people who rode before me – greatly enhances my enjoyment of the sport. But I guess for young guys like J.K., it doesn’t really matter. He just seems to love cycling, period, but I don’t know why. The problem with J.K. is that he’ll only speak English with me, even though my Mandarin is far superior. It’s hard to get much out of him when he insists on replying with his very basic English. From Sunday’s race results, I did learn that his Mandarin name is Xu Ru Jie. His initials “J.K.” come from his Cantonese name, which is spelled and pronounced slightly different. In Mandarin, the “Ru” character is only used in literary Chinese, not the spoken form, and it means: “you.” The character “Jie” can be a noun meaning “outstanding person” or it can be the adjective “outstanding.” So a hip contemporary translation of his name would be: “You da Man!”
About a year went by and I didn’t see J.K. on the road. But I heard that he was racing a lot and doing well in the B Division. A few weeks ago, I was doing a long recovery ride at Unitown with a few other expats. Three Chinese riders joined us and the ride quickly became a hammerfest led by a Chinese rider wearing styling orange booties and riding a carbon Specialized frame. I got dropped then rode like a demon to bridge back up to the group before a series of hills. I was just about to get over the last hill when the guy in the orange booties put the hammer down, throwing me into severe difficulty. He rode away as I scratched my helmet and wondered, “Who is that guy in the orange booties?” Later, the guy rode up to me again, smiled and said, “Hello!” Something about him seemed extremely familiar but I couldn’t place him. A day later, it suddenly occurred to me for some reason. “That was J.K.!” I said out loud to myself. Sure enough, there he was at last Sunday’s race in his orange booties and sharp Specialized frame. He’s on a team and has proper sponsorship. He’s riding in the A Division and has become the man to beat. But he’s still J.K. On Sunday, he rode up to me at the starting line and said, “Hello!” in the same boyish way he did two years ago when he was on his “Mustache” bike. I’m one of his biggest fans.
I saw several of these signs last weekend on the long descent on Nankun Mountain. They always crack me up because they say so much about the Chinese approach to driving. In China, the most important safety device in a car isn’t the brake or a gas pedal being operated by a sane and sensible driver. Nope, it’s the horn. When in doubt, honk your horn!
Another thing that I like about this is that the signs warn drivers of a blind curve when the curve is already clearly in view. Drivers really need to see this sign about 20 meters earlier, especially on a wet road.
In China, when you’re approaching a blind turn, you don’t need to slow down. All you need to do is toot your horn. And that’s exactly what everyone does! They certainly don’t slow down. If they don’t hear any honking, they rip around these corners, often straying into the other lane. On Saturday, a van decided to pass us by moving into the other lane just as it was about to round the corner.
I’ve been climbing in the mountains in Taiwan this week, and I noticed that the Taiwanese don’t encourage horn honking. Instead, they put signs ahead of tricky sections of roads urging drivers to slow down. In most cases, they paint a huge Chinese character that says “slow” on the road before dangerous curves.
I think the Chinalogical explanation for the horn-honking signs would be: Right, it’s common sense that when you’re driving down a twisty-curvy mountain road, you MUST drive slowly. Do people really need to be reminded of this? Isn’t it a natural reflex? What people DO need to be reminded of is to beep their horn just as a courtesy to oncoming traffic. You can never use your horn enough! An extra toot or two never hurt anyone.
The problem with the Chinalogic is that many drivers seem to assume that if they aren’t hearing anyone beeping, there is no oncoming traffic to worry about and they can continue speeding around the corner. I’ve seen this happen too many times.
UPDATE: A reader with an impressive grasp of Chinalogic made an astute comment on Waffles & Steel on Facebook. I think this is the best explanation so far of what might be going on with the horn honking. The reader said, “I’m not sure if this still holds in Chinalogic, but a decade or so ago, bus drivers routinely killed the engine and careened down tortuous mountain roads with their lights off in neutral at night – to conserve fuel, you understand. It seems that when rounding a corner in a silent behemoth flashing no light beams, it’s the least you could do to toot on the horn to warn oncoming vehicles of your existence.”
Riding down a road that’s heading straight into a mountain range. Feelings of trepidation about the pain ahead. Self doubt about whether you can really get to the top this time. Worries about the constant threat of mishaps, mechanicals, danger. It’s all racing around your brain as you get closer and closer to the mountains. It’s one of my favorite parts of a ride. In the picture above, the monster covered in clouds on the left side of the photo is Nankun Shan (“shan” means mountain in Chinese). It probably offers the best climbing in Guangzhou. Last Saturday, I rode it with my fellow explorer, Brendan. In about five hours, we covered about 110 kilometers in rainy and often bone-chilling weather.
Every ride in China is an adventure for us. A journey full of challenges and the unexpected. The last time we did Nankunshan, construction crews had ripped up a long section of road to the base of the mountain. All we had to ride on was a bumpy, slippery ribbon of mud, sand and rocks. We were hoping the project was completed. We were disappointed. There were a couple kilometers of road that were still unfinished, and we had to shift into cyclocross mode and power over it. Our bikes quickly became filthy and the gritty mud clogged up my brakes.
The morning drizzle made matters worse, and sometimes we had cars and buses riding on our wheels. There was no room for error. With a slip and a fall, we could quickly find ourselves beneath a vehicle.
We finally made it to the front side of Nankunshan, a 17-kilometer climb that kind of ebbs and flows. Some sections will dunk you into the red zone, but you won’t be there for too long before the road levels out a bit and you can recover. The gradient isn’t too painfully steep. But Brendan found a side road that offered a chain-busting, quad-shredding 1-kilometer climb.
He bravely completed the nasty climb, while I wussied out, fearing I’d pull a muscle or pop my chain, which should have been replaced a few months ago.
Here’s a profile of the climb:
Source: Banovic Data & Graphics Inc.
The climb up the front side of Nankunshan ends at this ornate gate.
Beyond the gate, there’s a parking lot, where hawkers have set up rickety stands and sell all kinds of things to the tour bus crowds. The gal below is selling “Tofu Flowers,” a type of custard made from bean curd.
There was another woman selling these critters: rats – with their heads and tails still attached – that have been dried, smoked and flattened.
While I was looking at the rat jerky, an elderly Chinese tourist walked up to the booth and said, “Oh, rats!” She spoke with a burry Beijing accent, so I asked her if people up North eat rats like this. She scrunched up her nose and said, “Oh no, we would never eat rats!” The Cantonese are famous for being adventurous eaters. The gal below assured me that rats are very tasty and are good for your hair.
We often ride down the back side of Nankunshan, then turn around and do an out-and-back course. On Saturday, though, we took a different route that was more of a roller coaster ride with a bunch of climbs that were tough but no longer than 3 or 4 kilometers.
The scenery was mind-blowingly lush. It was like we were riding through a jungle. A thousand shades of green. Ferns, elephant grass, palm trees with massive leaves and bamboo galore.
This is the biggest tree I’ve ever seen in China. A whole colony of Ewoks could live in it. Usually when a tree gets this tall, the Chinese will chop it down. It’s dangerous or blocks a road project or it’s just too damn irresistible. With all that wood, you can smoke a million rats!
I’ve never seen this before in China. The massive tree trunk had a cavity – or a grotto – that people were using as a shrine. They tacked up prayer ribbons and had burned incense.
A village in a mountain valley. I would love to buy one of these homes and use it for weekend climbing training camps.
A narrow passage at the top of one of the climbs.
We always stop in one village that has a long line of shops that cater to the tour bus crowd. Each shop sells exactly the same thing. Things go in and out of style and season. Once, the hot item was pickled hornets displayed in huge jars. This time, everyone was selling bamboo shoots, which are delicious.
The long descent off Nankunshan was more painful than the ascent. That’s because the weather never warmed up and the rain was worse. It was like standing under a cold shower. My shoulders and back started seizing up on me. I started worrying about muscle spasms. My quads felt like semi-thawed hamburger meat by the time I got to the bottom of the mountain and had to get through the muddy, ripped-up section of road again.
By the time we plowed over the muddy road, our bikes were filthy, and we weren’t looking forward to putting them into the mini van. Then we met this happy-looking guy above. He had a roadside car-washing operation. He sprayed down both of our bikes for less than $1. Then he asked us to join him for tea! Like I said, there’s always an adventure.
I was just starting the climb up Bapian Mountain when I came across this curious piece of rubbish. I got me thinking about something I read a couple years ago. An American guy racing in the Tour of South China blogged about what was apparently his first visit to China. One day he posted a photo of a big billboard that showed a scantily clad lingerie model. He was surprised to see such an overtly sexual ad in China, a communist country he thought would be extremely prudish and puritanical. I guess he thought he would just see women in baggy blue Mao suits buttoned up to their necks.
Sure, the Chinese can be conservative about sexual matters. But in so many other ways, they are OUT OF CONTROL. The government often turns a blind eye to the vibrant sex trade in southern China and most other parts of the country. Police are paid off. Officials are often the best customers. Occasionally, there’s a crackdown. But pretty much, it’s business as usual everyday. I’m talking about brothels that are disguised as “sauna” and “massage” joints. Many of them in Guangzhou are huge operations that are lit up like Las Vegas casinos at night. Pornography is sold on the streets by guys who whisper, “Psst…sexy DVD?” when they walk by you. I frequently get text messages on my mobile phone from outfits promising “relaxation.” I’ve stayed in numerous hotels – some of them with five-star ranking – where at about 10 p.m., the phone rings and there’s a sweet voice on the other end asking me if I require service. Often, when I’m walking to my bus after work, a young guy will approach me and slip a business card into my hand. The card with have 2-3 thumbnail photos of topless women, and there will be a phone number I can call for service. There’s also a little “menu” that says “office girls, virgins, Russian models, factory girls…” Sometimes, I’ll open my office in the morning and find that overnight someone slipped one of the cards under my door. I’ve got a whole stack of them in my file cabinet. I’ve been saving them like baseball cards to give to a friend as a gag gift.
I began translating the titles and quickly realized that my vocabulary for Chinese sexual slang is severely limited. I'm truly a bike geek. I'll take a stab at the main title, though. Errrr, is it "Swap your wife, swap your addiction?" I warmly welcome any corrections or better translations!
Getting a massage is an important part of cycling culture. After a long ride, it’s a terrific feeling to have a well-trained masseuse soften up your muscles and push out all the lactic acid and other nasty stuff from your legs. Although massages are cheap in China (oh, about $10-15), I rarely get them. It’s silly, but I have a hard time working up enough nerve to go into a place that I haven’t established is “legitimate” or not. I’ve been in a situation where I said I just wanted a “healthy massage” but I kept getting the sales pitch for the “happy ending.” It’s not relaxing when every 10 minutes you have to say, “No, really, I just want a simple massage.”
Once I went to a massage palace in Macau, the former Portuguese enclave in southern China that is now the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal. After I entered the place, I was seated in a large room with row after row of reclining chairs with TVs and women serving tea. A couple of Chinese gamblers sat next to me and they told the manager they were interested in female company. Almost immediately, a long line up of young ladies – all beautiful but apparent surgically enhanced – appeared and the men began shopping. They picked a couple and slipped off into a private massage room.
The manager wasn’t happy when I said that I just wanted a “healthy massage.” He said, “OK, that’s fine. But you can’t choose the girl!” He sent me off to a room with a stocky middle-aged woman who looked like she could have been picking cabbages in Sichuan a week earlier. She was a bruiser. The first thing she did was remove her shoes, climb onto the table and start walking up and down my back. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It wasn’t what I call healthy.
I suspect the person who watched the DVD also painted this on the road.
The Chinese sensibility continues to mystify me. Their aesthetics and relationship with nature are so difficult to understand. I took these pictures at Bapian Mountain. As you climb the mountain, there are beautiful rock faces (Is that the right term?) where construction crews cut through stone when building the road. The sad thing is that on many of the rocks, officials have painted slogans urging people to prevent fires.
"Beware of starting fires with cigarettes"
What seems bizarre to me is that they spent millions building this highly technical road that winds its way 7 kilometers up this mountain just to get to some type of telecom station. The road is really an engineering marvel. Yet, they decided not to spend a little money on signs telling people not to carelessly toss their cigarette butts. Instead, they decided to ruin the beauty of these rocks by painting on them. Still, the only type of trash you see on the road are cigarette butts (though I did find something else that’s really interesting and I’ll write about it later).
I try really hard to see things from the Chinese point of view. Here’s my best stab at the Chinalogic this time: “If we build a sign, someone is just going to tear it down or the wind will blow it away. Without the sign, people will start flicking their ciggy butts again and spark a brush fire that threatens the city below. Tens of thousands of lives could be in danger. We could be blamed for not creating a really durable sign that warns the masses about causing fires. So considering the threat, it’s OK to create an indestructible sign by spray painting a few rocks. Most of the others will remain in their natural state, so there’s plenty left to admire. Like the protagonist in ‘Crime and Punishment’ said: One crime, a thousand good deeds!”
Switchbacks galore. Stunning mountaintop views. A mellow average 7.3 percent gradient. Almost no traffic. Bapian Mountain is incredible. I knew I was in for a treat. I saw pictures of the climb a few days before Saturday’s ride. But the real thing far exceeded my already-high expectations. That’s such a wonderful feeling.
Bapian Mountain is in Qingyuan, a third-tier city about a 1.5 hour drive north of Guangzhou. Qingyuan is a mildly industrial town – big enough for a KFC restaurant – that seems to be shifting into tourism. Mountain valleys were crowded with hot spring resorts and restaurants. There was a small river that’s used for tubing and rafting. But for me, of course, the best attraction is the 7.5 kilometer climb (see profile below) up Bapian. The insanely technical, twisty-curvy road leads to some kind of signal intelligence station or telecom tower. Again, it’s another one of those things that could have been built by the Dharma Initiative.
I don’t recall seeing any guardrails along any part of the climb. In some spots, the road runs across a ridge, with steep drop offs on each side of the road.
We only saw one car – an SUV – on the road. However, there were a few motorcycles ridden by guys who were apparently illegally harvesting bamboo shoots, which people love to eat here. I’m quite fond of them myself. You’ve got to be careful with the motorcycles because the Chinese like to cut their engines when they’re descending to save gas. So you can’t hear them coming, and it’s easy to collide with them when they come flying around the blind corners.
My friend Brendan discovered this climb. He’s done more exploring in this part of China than any other expat cyclist that I know. He’s also an incredible climber.
Dancing on the pedals close to the top.
The ride started with a classic gawkfest. Our mini van parked near a roadside chicken coop. The three guys (above) watched us slip into our bike kit. They even watched as we rubbed lotion on our butts to guard against saddle sores. In my culture, if a man is dressing near you, you move away, turn the other way or at least avert your eyes. In China, you light up a cigarette and move in for a front seat view. The funny thing is that the chickens didn’t gawk at us. The guy in the wine-colored jacket on the far left was the most shameless.
I don’t know if it was fog or pollution or a bit of both, but it’s too bad we didn’t have a clear view because the scenery is spectacular. I kept getting mad at my camera for only capturing a fraction of the beauty.
A mountain goat’s paradise. The road just goes everywhere. I saw the Google Earth picture (below) before the ride and couldn’t believe the climb could really have so many switchbacks. It’s really a mind-blowing experience for a guy who grew up in one of the world’s flattest places.
Source: Banovic Graphics Inc.
Brendan was doing the climb one day and was startled when a metal hoe came crashing down on the road about 10 feet from him. There was a small group of women working on a ridge above him. They were preparing to descend the mountain and just started tossing their tools down onto the road without checking if anyone was there. It’s just typical for China.
The scrap-collecting woman was carefully stacking a bunch of wood-framed windows in the bike lane, leaning them against the metal roadside barrier. Just as I swerved around her and pedaled past, she whipped out some type of metal tool and started shattering all the glass in the windows. Almost instantly, there was a pile of shards in the bike lane. It was another one of those “Is this really happening?” moments. I experience them on almost every ride.
I stopped and fished out my camera from my back jersey pocket and started shooting pictures of her. She had her back to me and didn’t see what I was doing. I wanted a good face shot, so I rode over to her other side. When she saw what I was doing, SHE WENT BALLISTIC! Screeching in Cantonese, she fired off a burst of obscenities. She also grabbed a piece of scrap wood and started approaching me.
I’ve already mentioned one Waffles & Steel rule: If you’re gawking at me, I can take your picture. There’s another rule: If you’re doing something that’s dangerous, idiotic and most likely illegal in the street, I’m sorry but I’m probably going to take your picture.
I don’t know what set me off, but I started yelling at her. I shouted, “How can you do this in the street? Don’t you love China? Don’t you love the motherland?” It’s a new tactic I learned from the government: Appeal to a person’s sense of patriotism. It’s probably a stupid idea. The people probably don’t get it. The woman probably thought: “I’m just trying to quickly collect this scrap and get it out of every one’s way. Why is this crazy foreigner talking about loving the motherland?”
I figured out why she broke the glass. She had two big nylon bags. She planned to break up the window frames and stuff them in one bag. The broken glass was going into the other bag, though she had no broom or dustpan to make sure all the shards were cleared away. The odd thing was that her means of transport was a bike. Wouldn’t you think she would be more sensitive about keeping a bike lane free of sharp debris? Nah, it’s the common attitude here: I’ll do what I want to do. Screw everyone else.
As we yelled at each other, a small crowd of people gathered on the sidewalk. In their eyes, I surely looked ridiculous and weird. I doubt they could see the pile of broken glass from the sidewalk. All they saw was a foreigner in lycra on a fancy bike yelling at a poor scrap-collecting woman about loving the motherland. I felt stupid again about losing my cool. What I most regretted, though, was being so busy shouting at the woman that I missed the best picture. I would have loved to have had a tight shot of the woman’s eyes bulging out of her head as she shrieked at me.
For several months, I’ve walked past the “F” wall and wondered when someone would remove the graffiti. Then last month, a few times a week, I’d stop to take photos of people passing the wall. Last week, I blogged about it. A couple days later, someone finally tried to cover up the obscenity. The workmanship really wouldn’t meet the standards in a place like Germany, but for China, it was OK. There’s a saying in Chinese that describes a popular attitude. It’s: “Cha bu duo jiu hao le,” which I would clumsily translate as: “Just about right is good enough” or “OK is good enough” (or “It doesn’t need to be perfect”).
Why did they wait until now to clean off the graffiti? Perhaps it’s something they’ve been meaning to do for a long time. One important thing I failed to mention in my initial post was that the neighborhood is undergoing a beautification campaign. Last month, the buildings were covered with scaffolding, and crews were replacing the metal cages over balconies. But if they were going to the trouble and expense to upgrade the balcony cages, why wouldn’t they deal with the graffiti sooner? I don’t think my blog post shamed them into finally addressing the “F” wall. But at the risk of sounding too self important, I think it’s very possible that my interest in the wall inspired folks to get rid of the “F” word.
I think foreigners – especially those with European or African features – must always keep in mind that when they’re in public, they’re probably being watched very closely. People might not be gawking at you, but they will be watching. I like to think of China as a nation of eavesdroppers and observers. Eyes and ears are everywhere. And in such a densely populated place, word of mouth travels fast. I’m sure that news quickly spread that a weird foreigner was keenly interested in the “F” wall and even taking pictures of it. Most likely it eventually got to the neighborhood committee, government-backed councils that monitor households in each neighborhood.
These committees seem less powerful than in the hardcore Communist days when a negative comment about Mao could quickly land you in the gulag. When I was studying in the central city of Zhengzhou in 1990, I would have to register with the neighborhood committee representative – a surly old lady – at the gate of my Chinese friend’s apartment building every time I visited her. In the old days, the neighborhood committee probably would have called the cops on me for taking photos of the “F” wall. That didn’t happen this time, but it doesn’t mean I wasn’t being watched by someone.
Bus back! Not much room for error on Stanley Gap Road, near Repulse Bay.
One of my all-time favorite climbs is one that I’ve never done before on a bike. It’s on Stanley Gap and Wong Chong Nai Gap roads, which go across and up the southern side of Hong Kong Island and cross the island’s spine before connecting with Stubb’s Road, which takes you into the city.
Another tight fit. Note to engineers: A couple extra inches on the shoulder would be appreciated next time.
I love any road with “Gap” in its name. These roads are fantastic because they twist and turn as they hug the side of the mountain. They provide stunning views of the South China Sea, coves with sailboats bobbing in turquoise water, mansions, curvy beaches, lush forests and so much more. I think the most popular image of Hong Kong is that of an urban densepack, a Blade Runnerish metropolis, a Chinatown overdosing on steroids. Parts of the city are certainly like that. But most of Hong Kong is mountainous and incredibly green.
The beach at Repulse Bay.
The only problem with the Stanley Gap and Wong Chong Nai Gap climbs is that the road is extremely narrow and lacks a shoulder in most places. Double-decker buses pass each other with just a few inches between them. Cabs fly around the blind corners. Tour buses hog the roads. This is why during my two years in Hong Kong, I couldn’t work up the nerve to get my bike on the road. Everytime I was ready to do it, there would be a story in the paper about a cyclist getting flattened by a bus or truck. Many cyclists do brave the roads, and on Sunday you can see several groups climbing the Gap roads.
Mist over the South China Sea on a Sunday morning.
I usually climbed vicariously by watching the riders from a seat on the top of a double-decker bus. But if I ever leave China, one of the last things I’ll do is take my bike back to Hong Kong and climb the Gap roads.
Wandering around China’s back alleys is one of my favorite things to do. Every workday, when I walk to my office, I go through an old neighborhood in central Guangzhou. The area is full of what’s called “work unit” housing – drab, dead-looking, low-rise crumbling concrete apartment buildings left over from the hardcore Communist era when most of the housing was provided by the state. Many of the structures are being torn down and replaced with cheaply constructed high-rise apartments.
For as long as I can remember, the “F” word has been spray painted on one of the building’s walls. I don’t know why no one has removed the graffiti. I guess the elderly people who hang out in the alley during the day have no idea what it means. The kids who probably wrote it most likely think it’s funny. And then there’s a certain kind of complacency in the Chinese psyche that doesn’t really want to bother maintaining, cleaning or restoring things – especially public objects. The graffiti will likely be dealt with when some official decides it needs to be done.
Recently, my morning routine has involved stopping for about five minutes to photograph people riding their bikes past the “F” Wall. I’ve got a whole collection of them now. For me, the “F” Wall represents the chaotic, ragged-edge of Chinese society. Sure, the government controls many things, but so many other aspects of life are rough and raw, seemingly beyond the reach of the cadres and mandarins. How can a foreign curse word remain on a building constructed by a state-run enterprise for so long in a real Communist police state?
Most of these flats have small balconies that are covered up with metal cages. They’re designed to keep out burglars, but they’re also good for hanging up laundry and other items. Often, you can see a week’s worth of under garments hanging out to dry. Check out all the plumbing pipes on the building’s exterior. Because Guangzhou’s winters are so mild, the pipes won’t freeze when they’re exposed to the elements.
Why did the graffiti writer just paint “F***?” Why not “F*** you?” or “F*** the Asia Games?” It’s interesting because Chinese don’t like monosyllabic words. The Chinese language – well, the Mandarin dialect at least – has all kinds of little endings that you can tack on to the end of a word to give it an extra syllable. Perhaps the person’s English vocabulary for foul words and phrases was limited to “F****.”
My wife always says that the Chinese can sleep in any place and in any position.