Cheques My Ass Can’t Cash

I can’t win. I really can’t. I finally get my first pay cheque in like three months and decide I want to take the missus out to celebrate her recently landing of a yoga instructor job.

I’ve been dying to check out this Spanish restaurant, El Meson de Carmen, that is not too far away from my place in the Suzhou New District (SND/苏州新区). It is run by the parents of a student of mine, who is -appropriately enough- from Spain. It’s weird teaching a white girl. Just weird. She’s quite nice though, and as it turns out, her pops can cook!

We started with some tapas and sangria, and splurged on the lobster/seafood rice. It was all great – especially the sangria which brought back memories of drunken nights on Las Ramblas in Barcelona.

The food was awesome, and the free “teach-our-daughter-well” restaurant t-shirt and complimentary dessert didn’t hurt…

… until I got home.

Why is it my stomach can’t sort out that sometimes I’m going to eat Chinese food and sometimes I’m going to eat Western food – and it just needs to adjust. Why does it have to be as cranky as a newborn? It happens every time and there’s just nothing I can do about it – other than just sticking with one type of food, the blander the better.

That I love Sichuan and Hunan food to no end doesn’t help matters either. I just love spicy food, and as much as I enjoy a good perspiration ingesting it – I dislike the repeat sweats shortly there after. Spicy going in is spicy going out.

In the end, it gets put in with the likes of excessive drinking. I rather dislike waking up with a hangover, but that tends not to stop me from enjoying a few cold ones the night before… and it’s not going to stop me from revisiting El Meson de Carmen.

We’ll see how it reacts to some good ol’ BBQ tomorrow. Tomorrow is National Day and the kick off to the Mid-Autumn Festival (Oct. 6th) here in China; as such it is the start of my nine days vacation. Yeah, I was dying for a vacation, I had worked nearly four straight weeks without one (man, my life is hard!).

Part of tradition for this holiday is to eat mooncakes and apparently have a BBQ. This BBQ bit, as Maggie confirms, is very likely more a Taiwanese thing, as the mainlanders don’t seem to be into it. As I teach mostly Taiwanese people at my new school, it’s great validation for finding an excuse to put my new barbeque to use.

Provided the weather co-operates, I’ll be serving up chicken, beef kababs, and anything in the apartment or neighborhood that might do well on a grill. Steven and Hek seem to be down with joining me, and I’m certain a couple beers will be on the menu, as Maggie’s mom arrives on Monday. I love the woman dearly, but I’ve never spent more than a couple hours with her… nervous isn’t the word for how I feel… apprehensive.. discerning… anxious… these are getting warmer.

7 Responses

  1. October 1st is the start of National Day celebration in China, not Mid-Autumn Festival. Of course, I do know that Mid-Autumn Festival moves around, so is it both? Mid-Autumn Festival is usually in mid-September. But I am quite certain that 10/01 is National Day, the celebration of the founding of the PRC in 1949. I think this is the reason for the time off that most of China will enjoy this next week. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. Hey Stuart, you’re absolutely correct. I realized my mistake at 7 a.m. this morning with the SMS message from one of my Chinese teachers exclaiming “Happy National Day!” .. Mid-Autumn Festival is on October 6th this year which falls in the holiday week, and may explain why I got my holidays jumbled between dashes to the bathroom.

  3. that meson de carmen restaurant sounds promising. always good to have a heads-up on a new place to eat in the area, especially as it’s so nearby. which street is it on? roll on the sunshine, then roll out the bbq!


  4. Your blog has been my literal inspiration for coming to China. Now that I’m here (in Shanghai) everything is completely different than I had expected. National Holiday is taking place as I type and the people are everywhere. However, considering I have never ever been to China before, it could very well be that Shanghai is always this packed. LOVE IT! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog (or at least one post), hero.

  5. @Steven: Yeah, it’s fantastic – and if you go, mention my name … it’ll help my guanxi 😉 Here comes the sun… well, as soon as it does.. BBQ!

    @Stephanie: You read my blog and it inspired you to COME to China? Wow! We reading/writing the same blog? haha. And as I’m about to post on your blog, you came at the craziest time… well, one of three craziest times. And yeah, welcome to the China Blogsphere – there’s a lot of us, but we’re a reasonably tight-knit group.

  6. “And yeah, welcome to the China Blogsphere – there’s a lot of us, but we’re a reasonably tight-knit group.”

    I’ve noticed this more and more as I troll the blogs. Besides the odd ball commenters like myself (not a laowai) there seems to be a pretty distinct group of laowai bloggers around.

  7. Pingback: The Hao Hao Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *