Monday, 1 October 2012

Chinese businessman offers to buy fire station

Before the translator arrived
He wanted to buy the fire trucks at first
JEREZ / JIMENA We have been asked several times why Jimena's fire station is up for sale. There was a sign up saying so, so it must have beeen, right? Well, no. It was a way for the firemen to protest about not having been paid. Fire stations throughout the province of Cádiz have been festooned with SE VENDE signs, Jimena being one of the less intensely so. But there's a good story about what happened at one of the fire stations in Jerez. Here goes: YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO READ THE REST OF ITEMS LIKE THIS UNLESS YOU SUBSCRIBE. Subscription info coming soon>>>The Jerez firefighters were in the midst of a loud demo,understandably protesting that they hadn't been paid for August. A large luxury car drives up and out comes a 'man of Chinese origin' (to quote one online source) and asks 'How much?' in English.

It was evident that he meant the vehicles lined up outside, ready for anything. He was particularly interested in the trucks; kept pointing at them. 'How much?' he kept on asking. 'I buy! I buy! I buy!' Almost shouting now. He pulled out a check book and a pen. His attention was now on the building itself (it'd make a magnificent knick-knack emporium indeed). Maybe there was a package deal.

'No, no,' said the firemen over and over.

One of the firemen had a little English so he tried to explain that this was not in fact a fire sale, but a demonstration. The Chinese gentleman had not much more English than the few words he had already spoken. But he could not understand that the signs, which he understood perfectly, said SE VENDE but nobody wanted to sell him anything. He kept shaking his head.

The chief was called out, who had neither any of the Chinese languages nor any English either. The argument went on for some time with neither side understanding a word.

One of the younger firemen had a good idea. He took off to the nearest Chinese shop, some distance away, and brought back a woman who had some Spanish as well as Mandarin. (The bright lad learned that day that there are more than 300 different languages spoken in China, which worried him for a while.)

When they got back to the station, the argument still going on, the woman burst into laughter. She addressed the businessman in their common language, and it was established that the station was not for sale. Smiles all round.

Before the man got back into his car, he was given a fire brigade badge as a souvenir. As the car drove away, he was seen to shake his head some more.

Union leaders made the most of all this. They issued a tongue-in-cheek communiqué saying that they were thinking about making him an offer so that they could at least get paid that month.

No doubt this sort of thing could not happen in China, but could it happen in Jimena?

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