I’ve already been told half a dozen times that I have a proper Beijing accent. Not that I’m in any way fluent (or even particularly proficient) in Chinese, but as long as I’m not botching the pronunciation entirely then my Rosetta Stone-trained instincts kick in. Whenever one of my Chinese friends remarks on it, they usually seem a little confused because they know that my only language instruction has been here in Sichuan—two weeks in Chengdu and two months now in Leshan.
Not that they expect me to speak a Sichuan dialect (there are many), but people here do have a distinct accent even when speaking Mandarin. I hope with time to pick up their accent as well as the Leshan dialect, but in the meantime I have a running start on being comprehensible to people across the country.