Monday, March 01, 2004

Turning Japanese
Yochan and I had a question about our bill at an Italian restaurant in Shenzhen last weekend and there was a communication glitch. "Restoranti Italiano" is one of many western style eateries in a district of Shenzhen called Shekou. I don't frequent Shekou a lot because it's muy expensotivo and becoup clickometers from el Apartamente de el Numero con Beuno Suerte. And - as newly arrived fellow barbarian James puts it succinctly - there are too many damn foreigners.
But as Yochan wasn't eager to sample Chinese cuisine during her stay we spent some serous chow time in Shekou where we shopped for Japanese snacks and drinks at the equivalent of a Japanese 7-Eleven, ate at Japanese restaurants, inhaled burgers, fries and salads at an Irish style pub called McCauley's that features rebel music on the sound system (best feature besides Guiness on tap - a Chinese waitress singing along to Back Home in Derry: "A rebel I came and I'II die the same...") and also had some muy excellente Italian fare at the afore mentioned restaurant where the question about the bill came up.
Though she speaks Swedish and English, Yochan speaks about as much Chinese as I do and after the 238th time she was addressed here in Chinese she began whipping out a handwritten note that said in Chinese characters: "I am Japanese."
The Italian restaurant's Chinese waitress's English was about as good as our Chinese but thanks to Yochan's sign and the fact that she'd also overheard another one speaking Japanese to a group of fellow diners we got got around the communcation break down. We asked for the other waitress and our question about our Chinese bill in an Italian restaurant was settled in Japanese.
Grudging correction: Yeah, I might have had more fun at the Splendid China theme park than the Feb. 25 post implied. To see the other side of the story and to see pictures me making a fool of myself that I am unable to post, please visit James' site at
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