Mules are often used in Chinese as a generic reference to vehicles. An "iron mule," for example, does not mean a miniature mule made of iron, but instead a bike. This expression is particularly popular among Northern Chinese countrymen and school-age boys. Similarly, an "electric mule" is not a mule that carries electricity. It is an expression used to describe as electric scooter. Following are eight popular Chinese slang words for different types of transportation. Go wild, and use them to impress your Chinese pengyou, before the mules fight back.
1. 铁驴 (tiě lǘ)
Literally: Iron mule
Informal: A bike
Sample sentence: 我骑铁驴去。 Wo qi tie lv qu. I'll cycle there.
Note: This is considered a very lowly and somewhat inappropriate expression. It's used mostly among Northern rural boys, but rarely by urban dwellers. Save it for a country girl. She will first laugh, and then will fall in love with you immediately. Be careful to use it towards city slickers though.
2. 电驴 (diàn lǘ)
Literally: An electiric mule
Informal: An electric bike or scooter
Sample sentence: 哥们儿，这电驴骑着真带劲儿！Ge men'r, zhe dian lv qi zhe zhen dai jin'r. This scooter really kicks ass, man!
3. 蹦蹦 (bèng bèng)
Literally: Jump jump
Informal: A tuk tuk
Sample Sentence: 这儿离地铁站不远，我打个蹦蹦就到了。Zhe'r li di tie zhan bu yuan, wo da ge beng beng jiu dao le. It's pretty close to the subway station. I can just take a tuk tuk.
4. 三蹦子 (sān bēng zi)
Literally: Three hops
Informal: A tuk tuk, auto rickshaw
Sample sentence: 村里的交通主要靠三蹦子。Cun li de jiao tong zhu yao kao san beng zi. Auto rickshaw is the primary form of transport in the village.
Note: Though beng beng and san beng zi mean essentially the same thing, beng beng usually refers to a tuk tuk similar to the one you may hail in Sanlitun, while san beng zi usually refers to a auto rickshaw you see in a rural Chinese village and is used by farmers to move small amounts of crop and produce to sell at local markets.
5. 面包车，面的，小面 (miàn bāo chē, miàn dī, xiǎo miàn)
Literally: A bread-shaped vehicle
Informal: a minivan
Sample sentence: 我想租个足够放下我床垫的面包车/面的/小面。Wo xiang zu ge zu gou fang xia wo chuang dian de mian bao che/mian di/xiao mian. I want to rent a minivan big enough to transport my mattress.
6. 大奔/奔 (dà bēn)
Literally: Big Benz
Informal: a Mercedes Benz
Sample sentence: 他就开着他爸几年前给他买的那个奔瞎混。Ta jiu kai zhe ta ba ji nian qian gei ta mai de na ge ben xia hun. He has no plan for life other than goofing around with the Mercedes his dad bought him a few years ago.
7. 大巴 (dà bā)
Literally: Big Ba
Informal: A shuttle bus
Sample sentence: 大巴很方便，从三里屯直达机场。Da ba hen fang bian, cong Sanlitun zhi da ji chang. The shuttle bus is very convenient; it goes non-stop from Sanlitun to the airport.
8. 大轿子车 (dà jiào zi chē)
Literally: big rickshaw auto
Informal: a tourist bus
Sample sentence: 旅行团租的大轿子车挺舒服的。Lv xing tuan zu de da jiao zi che ting shu fu de. Our tour group bus is pretty comfortable.
Note: This word specifically refers to a bus for a tour group, the ones you see at parking lot of the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. Do not use it in reference to a public transport bus.
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