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未解之谜:英国小村为何引来中国游客

更新时间:2016-12-7 10:58:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

British Villagers Are Baffled by Flocking Chinese Tourists
未解之谜:英国小村为何引来中国游客

KIDLINGTON, England — The Chinese visitors fanned out of a tour bus, and suddenly stopped, transfixed, as if marveling at the Venus de Milo or the Eiffel Tower. Then they began photographing an unremarkable 1970s suburban home, an oak tree, a rosebush and a garbage bin.

英格兰基德灵顿——从一辆旅游大巴上下来后,中国游客散开了。突然,他们停下脚步怔住了,像看到了米洛岛的维纳斯或埃菲尔铁塔一样惊叹不已。之后,他们开始对着一栋普通的70年代郊区房屋、一棵栎树、一处玫瑰丛和一个垃圾桶拍照。

“It’s beautiful,” Liu Jingwen of Guangdong Province said as one of her travel companions crouched with his camera on the edge of a lawn and took a selfie in front of a small red brick bungalow. A porcelain schnauzer smiled from a nearby window. An angry passer-by yelled: “No photos! We’ll call the police!”

“真漂亮,”来自广东省的刘婧雯(音)说。此时,和她同行的一名游客举着相机蹲在一片草坪的边上自拍,他的身后是一间红砖小平房。透过附近的窗户可以看到一件瓷器,是一条面带微笑的雪纳瑞犬。一名生气的路人高喊着:“不要拍照!我们要报警了!”

Ever since busloads of Chinese tourists began arriving in this sleepy, nondescript English village this summer, the 13,723 residents of Kidlington, about five miles north of Oxford, have been variously baffled, annoyed and delighted.

自从今年夏天一车车中国游客开始来到这个宁静、普通的英格兰村庄以来,地处牛津以北大约五英里(约合八公里)处的基德灵顿的13723名居民便被以各种方式打扰着,感到既困惑又高兴。

The sudden influx of Chinese has also grabbed headlines and spawned a national mystery.

中国人的突然涌入也成了重大新闻,并引发了一个全国性的谜团。

Why, for example, do the Chinese tourists ignore the village’s handsome 13th-century church and its thatched-roof cottages, preferring instead to peer through windows, film parked cars and traipse on the lawns of Benmead Road, a humdrum and modern residential street? One tourist asked a stunned resident if he could help mow her lawn. (She politely declined.) Another jumped joyously on a child’s trampoline in the front yard.

比如,中国游客为什么无视村里富丽堂皇的13世纪教堂和茅草顶房屋,反倒更喜欢透过窗户窥探、拍摄停放的车辆、在无趣的现代住宅区街道本米德路两旁的草坪上闲逛?一名游客问一名震惊的居民,他可不可以帮她修剪草坪。(她礼貌地拒绝了。)另一名游客开心地在前院一个儿童蹦床上蹦跳。

One theory, reported feverishly by the British news media, is that Chinese tourists had been told by a rogue tour operator that the village was the location of 4 Privet Drive, the childhood home of Harry Potter, the fictional wizard. (In fact, it is in Bracknell, Berkshire,) The Sun asked if supernatural forces had delivered the Chinese to Kidlington.

英国新闻媒体热衷报道的一个理论是,中国游客被一家恶作剧的旅行社告知,这个村庄是小说中的法师哈利·波特(Harry Potter)童年时的家女贞路4号的所在地。(实际上,那个地方在伯克希尔郡的布拉克内尔。)《太阳报》(The Sun)怀疑,是不是超自然的力量把中国人送到了基德灵顿。

Others suggested that the Chinese had been drawn by Kidlington’s claim to being one of the largest villages in the realm. Or perhaps they wanted to see the Kidlington mansion previously occupied by Richard Branson, the shaggy-haired billionaire?

其他人则表示,中国人是被基德灵顿那英格兰最大村庄之一的名声吸引来的。又或许他们是想看看头发蓬乱的亿万富翁理查德·布兰森(Richard Branson)位于基德灵顿的旧居。

Such is the interest in the enigma that the BBC dispatched a camera crew to Kidlington, along with a questionnaire in Mandarin to ask the Chinese why they were coming. On a Facebook page devoted to the village, solving the conundrum became a popular parlor game.

人们对这个谜团的兴趣如此强烈,以至BBC派了一队拍摄人员前往基德灵顿。他们还带了一份中文调查问卷,问中国人为什么来这里。在该村专属的Facebook页面上,解开这个谜团成了一个长久不衰的室内游戏。

“They don’t know of a monarch buried under your streets do they?” asked Rosie McCarter of Leicester, referring to the discovery of the remains of Richard III under a parking lot in her Midlands city.

“他们是不是以为你们的街道下面埋了一位君主啊?”莱斯特的罗茜·麦卡特(Rosie McCarter)说。她提到的是在自己所在的中部城市的一处停车场下面发现了理查德三世(Richard III)的遗骸。

The Mirror newspaper listed the village alongside other unlikely global tourism attractions like Chernobyl, Ukraine, and the Hair Museum in Turkey. “The world’s weirdest attractions now count a sleepy Oxfordshire suburb among their number,” it mused.

《镜报》(The Mirror)将该村庄同全球其他不太可能成为旅游景点却成为了景点的地方相提并论,如乌克兰的切尔诺贝利和土耳其的头发博物馆(Hair Museum)。“现在,牛津郡一个宁静的郊区让全球最奇怪的景点多了一个新成员,”该报若有所思地写道。

Ask a Kidlington resident why anyone, nevermind someone from as far away as China, would want to come here, and you will be invariably greeted with a look of dumbfounded amazement.

问基德灵顿的居民为什么有人——不管是不是来自遥远的中国——想来这里时,无一例外会发现对方一幅困惑诧异的表情。

“Why the Chinese come here is one of those unfathomables,” said Liam King, 73, a telephone engineer who was raking leaves in front of his house on Benmead Road.

“中国人为什么来这里是那些难以理解的事情之一,”73岁的电话工程师利亚姆·金(Liam King)说。他正在自己位于本米德路上的房屋前面清理树叶。

“There is nothing wow-wow here,” added Sanjay Aslam, 43, a driver, noting that Kidlington had long lived in the shadow of Oxford University.

“这里没什么了不起的东西,”43岁的司机桑贾伊·阿斯拉姆(Sanjay Aslam)说,并指出基德灵顿长期处在牛津大学(Oxford University)的阴影中。

“It’s just a regular village, quite a nice place, no riffraff walking around,” offered Polly Bonney, a hairdresser.

“只是一个普通村子,还不错的地方,没有不三不四的人游荡,”理发师波莉·邦尼(Polly Bonney)说。

Kidlington has had its moments. A history of the village notes that in 1937 three Siberian wolves escaped from the local zoo, causing great panic. And in 1987, the chairman of the parish council touched off a revolt when he tried to turn the village into a town.

基德灵顿也出过那么一两次风头。村史提到,1937年三只西伯利亚狼逃出当地的动物园,造成了巨大的恐慌。再到1987年,当地议会议长因试图将该村变成一个镇而引发反抗。

But until now, that was about it. A slice of middle England, Kidlington contains, among other things, a public library, seven pubs, two cafes, four restaurants, a main shopping street with a Domino’s Pizza outlet, an immigration detention center and a Baptist church with a sign outside saying, “Try praying.” A three-bedroom semidetached house sells for about $430,000, local real estate agents say.

但迄今为止仅此而已。基德灵顿坐落在英格兰中部,村里的的设施包括一家公共图书馆、七家酒吧、两家咖啡馆、四家餐厅、一条主要的购物街——达美乐披萨(Domino’s Pizza)店就开在这条街上——一个移民收容中心和一座浸礼会教堂,教堂外面挂着一个牌子,上面写着“尝试祈祷”。当地的房地产中介称,一栋三居室的半独立式房屋的售价约为43万美元(约合300万元人民币)。

On a recent day at The King’s Arms, a popular local pub, several Kidlington natives feasted on $8.55 plates of lamb, mushy peas and mint sauce, and puzzled at the town’s newfound fame, as Millie, the pub’s one-eyed dog, padded by. The pub is haunted by a resident ghost called Martha, who worked in the pub in the 1950s, and who is sometimes seen knitting, said Christine McGrath, its jovial manager. A “grumpy old men’s club” sign hangs over the spot where three regulars sit weekly and grouse.

前不久的一天,在当地备受欢迎的酒吧“国王徽章”(The King's Arms)里,几名基德灵顿本地人花8.55美元享用着羊肉、豆糊和薄荷酱。他们对村子新获得的名气感到不解。酒吧里的独眼狗米莉无声地走过。开朗友好的酒吧经理克里斯蒂娜·麦格拉思(Christine McGrath)说,这家酒吧闹鬼,鬼的名字是玛莎(Martha),就住在这里,在50年代曾在酒吧里工作,有时会有人看到她在做针线活。一个“脾气暴躁的老男人俱乐部”的标志挂在三个常客每周坐下发牢骚的地方。

The consensus at the pub was that the Chinese guests had unintentionally helped the anonymous village gain international attention, and were good for the local economy. Ms. McGrath said Chinese tourists occasionally entered the pub, ordered Guinness, pulled a face and left. “The Chinese have put us on the map,” she said.

酒吧里的人一致认为,中国游客无意间帮这个普普通通的村庄赢得了国际社会的关注,对当地经济有利。麦格拉思说,中国游客偶尔会走进酒吧,点健力士黑啤酒(Guinness),然后一脸难受地站起离开。“中国人让我们出名了,”她说。

Fran Beesley, 74, an occupational therapist, said she was startled to walk out of her house one day and find a Chinese man photographing her front yard as his family waited nearby. “I’d like to organize cream teas and welcome them,” she said. Other residents have been less amused and have called the police.

74岁的职业治疗师弗兰·比斯利(Fran Beesley)说,有一天走出屋子后,她惊讶地发现一名中国男子在拍她家的前院,他的家人在旁边等他。“我愿意准备奶油茶点欢迎他们,”她说。其他居民则没这么高兴,并且报过警。

In point of fact, there is a perfectly logical explanation for why droves of Chinese tourists are coming to Kidlington, and it is hardly going to burnish the local reputation.

其实,对于为什么有成群的中国游客来基德灵顿,有一个非常合理的解释。它几乎不会提升当地的形象。

Sun Jianfeng, a 48-year-old tour guide with Beijing Hua Yuan International Travel, said guides were routinely depositing in Kidlington tourists who did not want to pay an extra $68 for an optional Chinese language tour of nearby Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s majestic ancestral home.

北京市华远国际旅游有限公司48岁的导游孙建锋(音)说,导游通常会在基德灵顿放下不愿额外花68美元,去附近的布莱尼姆宫(Blenheim Palace)享受中文讲解参观服务的游客。雄伟的布莱尼姆宫是温斯顿·丘吉尔(Winston Churchill)的祖居,去那里参观不是旅行团的必选项。

He added that some wily tourists had figured out that buying tickets at the palace would cost only about $25, and were secretly sneaking there on foot, irking other tourists, who had already paid full price. As a result, he said, those who opted out of the Blenheim tour were being dropped in Kidlington, which is not within walking distance.

他接着表示,一些有心计的游客发现,去现场买票只花大约25美元,因此悄悄步行前往那里,这让其他已经付了全价的游客很生气。因此,他说,那些选择不参观布莱尼姆宫的人就被留在基德灵顿,从那里无法步行前往布莱尼姆宫。

Mr. Sun said Kidlington was also a convenient stop on the way to Bicester Village, a must-go discount luxury retail destination for Chinese shoppers. The Chinese are big spenders, and European countries compete hard for their business.

孙建锋说,在前往中国购物者必去的打折奢侈品零售目的地比斯特村(Bicester Village)的路上,基德灵顿也是便利的一站。中国游客出手阔绰,欧洲国家为招揽他们的生意的展开了激烈的竞争。

Mr. Sun stressed that the Kidlington phenomenon was also an outgrowth of modern China and globalization. Many tourists are a part of China’s rapidly growing middle class, many of whom live in anonymous concrete tower blocks in huge cities, he said. They are enchanted by the village’s tranquillity and intrigued by daily life in the English countryside.

孙建锋强调,基德灵顿现象也是现代中国和全球化发展的结果。他说,很多游客属于中国规模迅速扩大的中产阶级,不少人生活在大城市,住在没有个性特征的混凝土建筑里。他们为基德灵顿村的宁静所吸引,对英格兰乡下的日常生活感到好奇。

“The environment in the countryside in China isn’t so great,” he said. “In Kidlington, the environment is great. You see farm fields and ranches here. Also, many newly built houses here have brick or brick-and-wood structures, which you no longer see very often in urban China.”

“中国乡下的环境没这么好,”他说。“在基德灵顿,环境很好。能在这里看到农田和牧场。而且这里很多新建房屋都是砖或砖木结构,这在中国的城市里不太常看到。”

As a tourist bus pulled out of town, a group of Chinese visitors waved from their windows, smiling widely. The Kidlington tour had lasted about 15 minutes, but that was more than enough for Ms. Liu.

随着一辆旅游大巴开走,一群中国游客满面笑容地向窗外挥手。基德灵顿之行持续了大约15分钟,但对刘婧雯来说足够了。

“It’s so romantic,” she said, looking dreamy eyed. Then the bus sped away.

“太浪漫了,”她说,看上去眼神恍惚。然后,大巴疾驰而去。

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