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An American in China

Archive for January 3rd, 2010

Bu hao Bullshit- Eating in a Mexican Restaurant in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 3, 2010


New Years night we went to a Mexican joint, after all we are in China so why not enjoy the best it has to offer-by going Mexican.Actually we were going to do hot pot, my favorite, but I insisted on some spice from the west so it was off to, actually I forget the name of the joint, but it is across from the silk market and has the word Mexican in the name (oops) (see photos above).
It was our second foray to this place, our first ended in disappointment, when frustrated by horrible service, we walked out (spoiler alert). This time we gutted it out however and were exposed to some pre new years fireworks.
We sat and waited-and waited-and waited, had arrived at about 940 pm. The atmosphere of the joint was ok, and the pictured (Chinese) actually had a beautiful voice and sang the oldies with passion and style, made the waiting much more pleasant. Also, where else but China can you go to a Mexican restaurant, have a Chinese guy sing American songs and be surrounded by Russians, Slavs, Poles, all enjoying the same moment.
So we waited and enjoyed the show. In the rear of the building was a group of maybe 12 Americans waiting to be served, and a European or American lady come in little later after we did. When the show stopped around 1030pm, the waiting became more unbearable, and being a type A  personality, i decided to rectify this mistake in Chinese etiquette and push them for our meals. i had not noticed, but the large group of americans and the woman had not received their orders although the group came before us. In china, the squeaky wheel gets the greasin’, so I pushed  the guy about our order. Now, a little on ordering in china, they will say whatever to appease you, and actually do nothing, so I marshalled my emotional forces and asked each waiter as to the whereabouts of our food. Adequately annoyed and frustrated, the waiters then ignored our table for the better part of ten minutes. We pondered leaving the joint, it was around 1040 pm and the bewitching hour was fast approaching.
Suddenly the waiter rushed to our table, looking around nervously, he set down a huge chiminchanga and rushed off. unconcerned with his behavior, i plunged my fork into the delicacy and began to feast like a cannibal. The food was actually deliciious, but the chiminchanga was cold in the middle, I guess they had hurried it for us.
just as suddenly the lone woman (woman dining alone) got up and rushed off, had eaten nothing. it was hard for me to concentrate what with my fork stuffed into my face, so i gave it no thought. (she had left, pissed with the service). Funny thing is that in China there is a law that if you wait for 30 minutes you can leave without paying, (wtf??), I mean you cant eat, you can leave however. Yeah, so in China, you are so shut in that you cannot leave without paying without cause apparently ( another wtf).
So we were enjoying the rest of the meal when a large robust man (one of the 12 Americans) bound through the door way in the back to the wait table.
“Bu hao. Bu hao- Bu hao Bullshit!” he exclaimed loudly but was not that impolite. The large many waddled and looked at all the patrons making this proclamation of ‘bu hao’- not good, etc. we all merely watched, what else could i do with fork filled with chimichanga and fajita, my cheeks worked in and out like the pumps at a viaduct and I grinned at him. He wasnt making a scene per se, but was drawing a considerable amount of attention to himself.
“Very bu hao, very bullshit” he looked at the wait staff, who lowered their heads in collective shame. The man began to waggle a finger like parent to child, it had its intended effect as the Chinese skin town looked like that of our native American brethren. “Two hours we wait and no food!” he thundered.
Then a squeaky annoying voice of some older lady in the crew broke out, “Just how damn long does it take to make fajitas and chimichangas…”
My exhortations to the wait staff had not been expunged, even by all the calories I had consumed, i wrenched the fork from my face, looked down at the meal, now almost gone. I panicked, wondered if the old shrew and jolly rotund man had seen our stash, the delicacies that sat in front of us. Apparently they hadn’t, had just been some revelers out looking for a good meal and then off to a bar to ring in the new year.
The group collectively pissed and moaned and waddled out presumably to greet the New Year in a more favorable atmosphere. I looked down at my plate then at my friend, she continued to eat. Usually when I see foreigners acting like this- raising their voices, I feel a little shame- when a chinese does it i just write it off to them being an ass, but it pains me to see us act in this manner. But in all honesty, the man waited for over 2 hours, had taken some visitors to eat some great Mexican food in exotic Beijing and look what he gets, an empty plate and a griping , nagging wife. I would just like to reiterate that at moments like that I would have to say…
Bu hao bullshit!!

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Snowy Beijing

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 3, 2010


Here are some photos looking out my window of beautiful Beijing today. Its been very cold but I dont know if the government seeded the air to assist in snow making or if it is natural. In either case, the snow today is captivating.

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