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谢迈克在中国 » Blog Archive » Annoyances and disappointments

谢迈克在中国

Mike Shecket Goes To China!

Annoyances and disappointments

November 11th, 2007

So yesterday afternoon, the power went out in our building. I think it went out for the whole school. The internet also went off, so I couldn’t use my laptop on battery power to let my folks know what was going on. So realizing that I was soon going to be in a cold, dark apartment with no hot water and no flashlight, I decided it would be a good time to have a little adventure and check into one of the nice hotels downtown. So here I am at the Nenghui Hotel, 4-stars, a fairly classy joint. But first off, I discover once I get into the room that the Internet’s out of commission here too. So I’m looking at missing the OSU game (though it turned out to be one that I suppose I didn’t want to see anyway), and I’m still out of touch with my family.

Next up, I discover that the elevators here play only one 30-second snippet of the same tune every time you ride them. It’s like a ringtone. It’s a famous solo piano piece and I think it’s not the Moonlight Sonata. Whatever it is, I really never, ever need to hear it again.

Then I went out to dinner. I got a tip from another teacher that there was a “Western-style” restaurant just around the corner from this hotel that had filet mignon, which I had been sorely missing. This was a huge disappointment for me in particular. If there’s two things that I don’t like to eat, it’s eggs and mushrooms (among a zillion other things). Also, if there’s a manner in which I don’t like to eat meat, it’s being reminded that what I’m eating came from a particular kind of animal. So here’s the meal I got:

  • A Coke. Fine, but overpriced at 20 yuan for a can (that’s more or less three bucks).
  • Cream of mushroom soup. Didn’t touch it (came with the steak, and I didn’t know if I could pick a soup).
  • Some kind of toast absolutely swimming in oil and egg. Made a token effort to try to put a tiny morsel in my mouth. It ended up back on the plate.
  • A tiny, tiny salad with a few leaves of lettuce, one ring of onion, maybe a tomato, and then some slices of melon. I don’t really like melon, but even if I did, I don’t want it in a salad with salad dressing.
  • Chicken Satay - not bad, but not great, and they didn’t bring it out with the promised peanut sauce…they brought out the super-intense Guizhou spice combo you can dip skewers into. I can take a bit of that, but not a lot, and darnit I wanted my peanut sauce!
  • The steak. First of all, they brought out a sizzling platter, and it was covered, and I was so excited! They uncovered it revealing the following:

    • One egg, sunny side up. I hate eggs! I don’t want to eat that crap!
    • Some totally unidentified weird looking black thing sitting in the egg white, later identified as…a mushroom.
    • A piece of broccoli that I totally would have wanted to eat, except it was also swimming in egg white.
    • A baby carrot - see above.
    • The steak itself…which was cut all weird, like an “X” with another little disconnected dollop, and looked like it was sort of from the right part of the cow, but it was obviously prepared by someone who would never think of eating such a thing him- or herself. I was able to get some okay stuff off of it, but the kicker was…
    • The whole shebang was delivered on a metal platter in the shape of a cow. It had a cow head, legs, a tail, and it was like you were eating out of the cow’s guts. Not what I wanted to see.



My friends, I know I’m a picky eater. I’m ridiculous really. But I was going out of my way, and paying basically $20, which is a lot here (considering you can get a meal for less than a dollar), and my expectations were all worked up and ohhhh man, was I disappointed.Yet somehow it felt good to face this kind of disappointment, absorb it, and move on. It just reminds me that all my little preferences and hangups aren’t that important, the $20 is just money, and life goes on. Sometimes stuff happens, but it’s okay, it can be dealt with.Oh…that piano piece is Für Elise. Yes, I never, ever need to hear that one again. Makes you want to take the stairs. Arrgh…and by the way, I’m on the sixteenth floor.

3 Responses to “Annoyances and disappointments”

  1. C N Heidelberg

    Oh man…I’m not a picky eater (although China would probably test my limits in that arena) but I know the disappointment of having food you’re really craving not be what you were expecting. (Read: “Why the &^*&^ are there PAPRIKA CHIPS with my guacamole??!?!”)
    Did you get a photo of this food disaster??

  2. Jon

    Fur Elise… Is that the piano lesson music?

  3. Bruce

    Lesson learned: don’t expect much ordering Western food in China. If you’re in Shanghai, you can go to TGIFs and get a decent burger. Or one of the fast food chains. But generally you’ll get the same results as if you tried to make a complex Chinese dish from seeing a picture of it in a magazine. Stick with the Chinese food.

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