Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How to Eat When Illiterate

Internet access has been pretty spotty, so I'll have to do some gap filling on the travels.

In the meantime, I arrived in Hong Kong this morning, hungry since I missed all the meals on my flight and too early to check into my hotel. Took a walk around the neighborhood and passed a few cafes with all sorts of Chinese scribbled in the windows, but not a stitch of English. And no pictures, which have been helpful when I can't read. It became increasingly apparent that my only alternatives were a McCafe or I could take my chances with mystery menus. Of course, I had to go for the mystery menu.

Did I fit in? Not really. In fact, people openly stared. Possibly because I was holding a fleece jacket and it was a steamy 90 degrees out. Possibly because the first words out of my mouth were, "I can't read Chinese." So I asked what they had for breakfast, tried to remember what one eats for breakfast, and eventually settled on noodles and a coffee. Noodles were good. Coffee was terrible. I even put a packet of sugar in, but it didn't help. Making matters worse, I am apparently in possession of very, very old currency. When I went to pay, the woman said she couldn't accept the bill. And yes, it was cash only. Happily, was able to scrounge around for some coins (they have $5 coins!) to pay for my brekkie. Disaster averted.

And for lunch, I found a place with pictures on the menu. :)


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