Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

the foreigner's restaurant

Yeah, but could you remove your butt?
Today we checked out a foreign restaurant that serves great coffee. It's about a 30 minute bus ride from our place. It's also near a book shop that carries Chinese and English books. Its a hip place.

After lunch I sat finishing a beer while Ruth checked out the local shops.

This place is owned by a couple of American guys who created it primarily for foreigners. I usually don't like to go to these places because I'm embarrassed by the conduct of some of the crass people (i.e. Americans) who frequent these joints. They hook up their notebooks here like veins to an IV and download their web sites and tell each other how great they are. It makes me ill.

One guy bent over the table and stuck is butt in my face as he showed one of the other guys his most wonderful site. He claimed that he had correctly interpreted ancient Irish mythology. He was explaining how to download all his PDFs. When he left, one of the guys said to his buddy: "How arrogant can you get? He's an American who claims that only he correctly translated the ancient Irish myths? Are you kidding me?"

I'm hungry
I don't know. Who knows? Who cares? I just dislike the attitude of some of the folks that visit these places. It could be just as bad in Chinese restaurants, but I don't understand them.

Anyway, the reason why I go to these places once in a while is that I don't have to worry about the food or the water. There's a big write up in the font of the menu that explains how he filters all the water he uses for washing, cleaning, and drinking. I can actually eat raw vegetables without worry. And his coffee is phenomenal!

the foreigner's restaurant
Truth be told, we eat most all our meals at Chinese restaurants. We slurp noodles and crunch fresh vegetables. We wolf down dried pork on bone with mint leaves (ja-pie-gu). Then we wash it down with cold beers. One time while we were eating we also got our shoes shined for 2 yuan (30 cents). And another lady came over with a guitar who claimed to be able to sing. It was horrible. She strummed without changing the chord and talked through the song. My friend gave her $2 anyway. I wouldn't have given her a dime. That was false advertising.

The Chinese places are cheaper than the foreigner's restaurants and it's better for us. Actually we calculated that it is cheaper to eat out than it is to make the meals ourselves.

But I have to tell you that the word "restaurant" might conjer up the wrong image in your mind. These little places have no foyer, nor any entry counter. There is no "please wait to be seated" sign. It's simply a walkup. The whole front of the place is open to the street. That way you enjoy the full ambiance of the street scene a few steps away. A big metal roll down gate closes the place after hours. So there really is no door nor any windows. Since smoking is allowed in these restaurants, the open wall to the street is an asset not a liability.

watermelon for sale
Yet, the folks are the kindest and the most easy going you'll ever meet. They are fun to chat with and are happy that you are there. It's a wonderful experience.

Back at home we saw a sliver $100,000 dollar 2010 Porsche PanameraS pull out of our street. We crossed behind it and saw a vendor selling watermelons out of his horse drawn wagon.

China is a place of extremes.

I didn't get to ride in the Porsche but I did look over the vendor's watermelons.

Even if you have a lots of horses under your hood, you can't go any faster than the horse in front of you. - Dave Terry

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