Wednesday, July 26, 2006
I can send pictures from the dirty internet cafe, not from the clean one. I can post from the clean one, but I can't get into Gmail. Nothing sends from school or the hotel. This is the logic of China. So now I am at the dirty cafe to send some pictures and write about Kim.
Kim is the executive from Salinas and she is a walking attraction. By that I mean she is a quintessential woman and men, well, they notice her. She is always dressed to perfection and her make up is perfect; she does not sweat. I love Kim; she knows exactly who she is. Out of the eight of us here, she is the anomoly; she has hardly traveled and this is NOT an easy place, nor an easy job for someone accustomed to board rooms and business suits.
Last week when we were all getting settled, Pamela came in with ANOTHER new schedule. All of us froze and she said, "Don't worry, we are only switching two classes." It was one of Kim's. "Wait. No. Why are you switching them?" Wtihout pausing, Pamela said, "The students like their other teacher better." And Kim, not pausing said, "Too bad. I'm not switching again." Then she turned to us and put her hands up in a claw and said, as if to her students, "I'll get you, my pretties!" Pamela did not change the schedule.
Kim expects excellent service at every restaurant. It bothers her that dishes don't come out in a logical order; many times one of us will be done while the others are still waiting. A vegetarian, she has been trying to order noodles and vegetables for the past few weeks and, no matter the place, she has yet to get noodles with vegetables. She went as far to have her TA, Kelly, write the words "noodles with vegetables" in Chinese so she could show it to the waiters and waitresses. These symbols have gotten her only roasted peanuts and rice.
Just now, four of us went to a muslim restaurant and the menu had pictures with English translations (more about this in a minute). Quite excited, she pointed to the picture and description, "celery and cashews." Now, I had ordered chicken and cashews and out came a beautiful plate of chicken and cashews. Kim's dish? Only celery. She spent five minutes pointing to the English on the menu and to my plate; she wanted what was on the picture, "as it is advertised, please." So finally the waitress said (in very broken English) "Would you like me to take this back and put cashews on it? "YES, please!" said Kim. Ten minutes later, out comes the celery....covered with kidney beans.
To Kim's credit, she laughed. Just last night she told me that this trip has made her want to travel more...good for her. About her being an attraction: two muslim men asked her for her phone number while we sat in the restaurant.
Posted by Brian Bowker at 3:19 AM