Sunday, November 28, 2004

Alice's Restaurants
Due to its North American-only status, Thanksgiving in Hong Kong is a small, specialized affair. Though the managment for the shopping mall in which I basically live erected a forest of tasteful purple-flocked metal Christmas trees about three weeks ago, one was hard put to spot any pilgrims, Indians, cornucopias, turkeys or sheaves of corn - purple or otherwise. That is until I went to a restaurant called California for a fixed price "Why did the turkey cross the road?" theme dinner complete with fixings on Thursday.
Inside I found an embarrassed looking Chinese bartender dressed in a turkey suit from whom I ordered a scotch and soda. Around me were Chinese "pilgrims" -- waiters in Australian bush hats with oversized pilgrim buckles adorning the crowns and "Indians", waitresses sporting child-sized Indian princess headbands. While I dined on roast turkey, cranberries, stuffing and lumpy mashed potatos and pumpkin pie with a short, rotund black British female jazz singer and another woman, a svelte Korean wealth management adviser, I was able to watch the Buffalo Bills get walloped by the Boston Patriots live. It was the first American football game I'd seen since the Super Bowl, though my dining companions seemed strangely oblivious to its appeal.
At another table a party of eight young "ABC" (American Born Chinese) engineers devoured turkey, guzzled wine and talked excitedly about statistical odds while their dates looked on admiringly. All in all it wasn't exactly a Walton's Thanksgiving, or even a Simpsons', but it was refreshingly different.
On Saturday in Shenzhen I celebrated it again at an Indian restaurant with my American pal, James the Temple Guy and another UN of sorts - two Japanese women, a Eurasian British woman, a female Spanish teacher from Spain who rolled her 'r's in correct Castillian expression and another American guy and his Chinese girlfriend. No turkey this time, though the Tandoori chicken, sapphron rice and lamb kebobs hit the spot.
Later that evening international relations ground to a temporary halt as a SZ taxi driver and my Chinese friend, C, began arguing over the fact that he'd taken quite a money-making circuitous route to our destination. The driver refused to provide a receipt and then refused the fare after we finally arrived. But he began screaming for us and the police after we took him at his word. Still refusing the fare while bellowing in Mandarin at C, a young woman who kept her cool, the driver kept moving closer and closer to her until he was literally in her face spewing invectives and saliva as a crowd gathered.
That's when I stepped in and began negotiations by politely inviting him to "suck all my wet monkey love you tired, thieving pig fucker!" while throwing the refused money at him (which he picked up between tirades).
Things escalated as we tossed compliments back and forth toe-to-toe, until apparently exhausted, he threw the money on the ground and stomped off as a cop looked on with bemusement.
Later I asked C what he'd been screaming at me. I expected something along the lines of "Mofo", "SOB" or a distinctively Chinese base insult, "son of a turtle egg." (A turtle is a term here for a cuckhold.)
She smiled a little. "No. Do you really want to know what he said?"
"He said that you should be ashamed of yourself for betraying your country by coming here to work. He said he does not want money from a traitor who does not love his motherland."
How did he know I voted for Kerry? I wondered.

hi, i like ur writing. hope u have a good time in shenzhen.
I just came back from Aus after my graduation. from you words, i can know what u think about this city.
Hi Jing,
Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. I really enjoyed Shenzhen, even though sometimes my entries were not exactly always favorable. I am not there anymore but hope to return before too long. I miss it and the people a lot.
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