Chinese resturant + my home town

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Li Jiang was the city where i spent most of my time in china. It was a very small city fueled by tourism Chinese tourism. the attractions were it's natural scenery and its old town which was was a like a outdoor mall built where an old minority group village is. i spent most of my time there weightlifting walking around and working at a small restaurant. It was a beautiful city, and ia am so happy it was where i lived. Here is a story i wrote as a school assignment about working in the Chinese restaurant.

 The road was named Shangrila lou. On this road there was a mini mall, and
this mini mall had in it a hotel, a restaurant, and an arcade. All
these things were in Li Jiang, Yunnan, China. So what is so special
about this mini mall at the other end of the world? To anyone else,
its just another mini mall, but to me, It's one of my many homes. The
restaurant in that mini mall was where I spent most of my time while
living in china. Its was where my friends lived, it was where I ate
meals, and for awhile it was where I worked.
The restaurant was not the most fancy around but it was rather nice and
relaxing. It had about 15 tables, each with either a map or post
cards as the design under the see through plastic table cloth. On The
walls were pictures of different places in china and also finger
paintings on scrolls. The kitchen was in the back through a door out
of site of the sitting area, but the cooks would often come out into
the sitting area and talk when the restaurant was not busy, which was
most of the day. The front of the restaurant was all windows with a
small parking lot in front of it.

The food at the restaurant was northern type food, or Beijing type food. They
served a lot of soups and jouza, which is like dumplings. What really
made the restaurant money though was the breakfast buffet. The
restaurant had a deal with the hotel next door that all the tour
groups that went through,which was many, would have a prepaid
breakfast. This breakfast included 1 hard boiled egg, and as much
Manto (steamed bread), rice pudding, and soup as a person could eat.
Each and every morning all week anywhere from 100-200 Chinese
tourists would come through the place in a 3 hour time period. It got
a little bit crazy sometimes.
My story starts when I was 16, and living in Li Jiang with my aunt. My aunt
had become friends with the restaurant owner and wanted me to meet
him and his family. So one night we did. It was a rainy, cloudy night
and we decided to go and get soup. When we got there and sat down the
owner came over right away and started talking to me thinking I had
much better Chinese then I did (which at this time I knew nothing). I
just smiled and said I don’t speak Chinese and he laughed and
started talking to my aunt. After a little while he called his
daughter over. She was a cute girl, my age, but very shy. When people
talked to her she would only give one word answers, not that it
mattered much seeing as I couldn’t understand anyways. We left some
time later and I didn’t return to the restaurant for a couple weeks
because we went to Hong Kong.
When we got back from Hong Kong I wanted to see the girl again so I decided
to go back to the restaurant. My language skills had gotten much
better in my time away but it still wasn’t to great. I was able to
order some food, tell the cooks that it tasted great and say a couple
little statements to the cute Chinese girl. I found out that she had
a brother my age to. He showed up and started playing computer games
in the corner. I had a good time trying to talk to people that day,
and they seemed to be enjoying my presence. Show I started showing up
more often after that. The girl and her brother would practice their
English skills with me, while I worked on my Chinese skills. I
started going everyday when I got finished working out. We would go
for walks, play computer games, and make food and talk with the
chefs or whatever we felt like doing that day.

One day I went back with my aunt and we were talking about how boring my life
was cause all I would do was go to the gym, and hang out at the
restaurant. When she got the idea that I needed a job. I wasn’t
against this. I can always use some extra money. So she asked the
owner if I could have a job. And that’s how I got my first job.
My Job was to be a busboy for the buffet in the morning. I would get a
normal China wage, for me it was $1 an hour. So I really wasn’t
doing it for the money. It was more for the experience. What I had to
do was, wake up at 5:30 am and bike to the restaurant in total
darkness ,because most street lights weren’t on at this time, and
clean tables for 4 hours. I figured out quickly that I was going to
need to learn some new vocabulary word to do this. I Had to ask
people if they were done with things, and deal with questions. It was
a really stressful job sometimes. When when tour of people left, the
next tour of people would show up. I got the hang of it after a
couple days though. People always either smiled or were really
confused when they saw an American boy cleaning up after them. Many
people thought that I must be the owner of the restaurant. Why else
would a boy be on the other end of the world cleaning dishes. The
best part though was at the end of the breakfast rush, when we would
all sit down and have the leftovers. It would be really funny because
everyone would make fun of each other and we would all be happy. I
would go home after that and continue my daily schedule.
After awhile though It got to the point where I was just wanted to quit. I
was sick of doing so mush work for so little money. The worst part
was probably waking up that early though. It wasn’t to enjoyable.
After a month of working there, I went with the intention of
quitting. Instead, I found out that the restaurant had been sold and
the whole family was moving. This was really heart breaking to me.
With them gone who was I going to hang out with. They said that the
new owners we willing to keep me as an employe in the mornings, and
that the cooks were going to keep working there so I would still no
some people. But it would never be the same. My Chinese Restaurant
experience had ended.
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