Canoeing: Josef Capousek about his life in China

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How are you coping with daily life in China?

There are definitely moments when I feel pretty lonely. The language problems do not make life easy for a foreigner. I can’t read the Chinese characters, and if you don’t know the language you can’t even order food. It often happens that I call my interpreter from a restaurant, let him talk to the waitress and order for me. Imagine, my interpreter lives in a small town 1,000 kilometers away and orders my food via mobile phone !!

What is your Chinese vocabulary good for?

I’m slowly getting to order a cold beer and for my training I have mastered a few terms that are used every day. I would love to understand more of the language, because it’s the connection to a culture and that interests me a lot. But you have to learn 4,000 of the around 100,000 characters in order to be able to read at least texts at the level of the Bild newspaper. I’m either too old or too stupid, but I can’t do that.