two randomnesses

September 18th, 2008

One: Did I accidentally rip off No. 1 Restaurant last night? Hehehehe…. oops. No, actually, I don’t think so. The waitress said 65 kuai. We were sitting outside under a string of lights they said was broken (we said ‘so why haven’t you fixed it?’, they said, ‘不好意思 (sorry/embarrassed)’, I won’t go into what I was thinking), and so the light wasn’t good, but I opened my wallet and pulled out what for all the world looked, in the poor light, like a 50, a 10 and a 5. Now, my maths ain’t great, but that adds up to 65 in my brain. The waitress inspected the notes and walked away, apparently satisfied. But at least three times through the course of the meal a more senior staff member came up to our table to inquire as to whether we had handed over two tenners or a 50 and a 10. Now, I stuck to my guns: “I gave you a 50, a 10 and a 5”, and insisted on that. No way was I backing down. First of all, the waitress had inspected and then accepted the notes. So if there’s a problem, it’s with the waitress, not me. I handed over what I believed to be the correct amount in good faith, she accepted that. Secondly, how do I know the restaurant is not trying to con me into covering some loss from some other table earlier in the night? It’s possible. The old switcheroo in which a fake note mistakenly accepted earlier in the evening is switched for a genuine one provided later by an honest customer, the honest customer thereby being scammed into taking the restaurant’s loss, is not unknown, and there are other possibilities of similar scams. Basically, it boils down to my word against theirs, and my attitude is I handed you what I believed to be the correct amount and the waitress inspected and then accepted my money, therefore it’s all good. Had I accidentally handed over 2 tenners- which would have been easy to do considering the poor light around our table- the waitress could’ve and should’ve easily raised the issue right then and there and I would’ve happily and apologetically offered the correct amount of money.

Clarifications: There was a group of us, lzh, myself and two of my colleagues, and we were eating at the outside seating the BeiGongDa No. 1 Restaurant set up at the start of summer. They make you pay as you go there, presumably to prevent the very easy possibility of the eat-and-run. That’s how we could have been bugged through the meal about this issue. And secondly, and most importantly: The waitress accepting my money inspected each note individually before accepting it. lzh was present, and therefore any potential ‘holy shit, it’s a foreigner!’ bullshit was irrelevant. And most people manage to communicate it when foreigners have made a mistake with money (common enough among tourists and newbies who haven’t yet figured out how Chinese money works).

But yes, it has bugged me. But I just checked with lzh, who watched me count out and hand over the money, then watched the waitress inspect, count and accept the money, and she says I was in the right and probably they’d broken the fifty with some other table and therefore had a bunch of tenners where the boss thought a fifty was.

2: We just found a good, clean, cheap noodle joint, specialists in 兰州拉面 (Lanzhou-style pulled noodles). Clean restaurant, big bowls of noodles costing 5 kuai and ginormous bowls 6 kuai, Tsingtao for 4 kuai and Yanjing for 3- price differentials at which I decide the extra kuai is worth it for the relative lack of formaldehyde, even if the taste is pretty much the same- and other dishes (we got a couple of cold dishes) for comparably cheap prices. The noodle soup was relatively lacking in beef, but you get what you pay for, and in this day of absurd inflation, your money doesn’t go so far any more. Next time I’ll order that cold beef dish to go with the noodles. But here’s the key:

It hit exactly the spot I was looking for.

See, my appetite took a beating in the early part of the week, probably a side-effect of the cold I caught up in Yanqing over the holiday. Lack of appetite combined with all but one of my lessons being on the top floor of buildings with no lifts and my apartment being on the top floor of a building with no lifts meant that by the time I got out of class this afternoon I was feeling pretty shattered and my thighs were burning. But walking running up the stairs home after that big bowl of noodles I felt fine.

Or in other words: lzh had a bowl of noodles exactly the same size, and by the time she was half way through she was sweating like a pig and complaining about the heat. I felt entirely comfortable even after consuming the entire bowl. Which just confirms in my mind that I was desperately lacking in energy and in desperate need of a heavy dose of carbohydrates.

See, noodles are very heating, and normally the only noodles I can eat in the warmer months are the cold variety, and that at a stretch. Otherwise, I’ll spontaneously combust. But tonight, in spite of the warmth of the weather and size and heat of the bowl of noodles, I felt, and still feel, entirely fine.

Well, I’ll still need a solid breakfast tomorrow and more carbs at lunch before I get back to normal, but those noodles really did exactly the trick I was looking for.

Definitely going back to that noodle joint, though, especially once the weather cools down. It didn’t just hit the needed spot, the noodles were good, real good.

2 Responses to “two randomnesses”

  1. Matt Schiavenza Says:

    兰州拉面! I eat that roughly three times a week, as there’s a good joint near my office.

  2. wangbo Says:

    It’s good stuff, but I normally can’t eat it in the summer time, it’s too bloody hot and I start to melt. I’ll definitely going back more as the weather gets cooller, though.