At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


Next time, perhaps I'll say "boo!" Or "waggah waggah waggah". The result would probably be that same 'deer in the headlights' stare. And in all honesty, there had been absolutely no reason to speak Chinese, given that everyone working there spoke English. But I was having fun, because I like showing off that I can read the characters.

I am a smarty pants among the hairy barbarians.
Can read 'jung man' (中文). Write too.
Speak, maybe not so well.

The teenager behind the counter looked quite terrified, and clearly didn't understand a word. Even after his coworker leaned over and helpfully whispered "keui kong hong-waa" (佢講唐話 'he is speaking Chinese').
Which was unfair of me.

[When first confronted with a white person using Cantonese or Mandarin, many Chinese do not recognize their own language, because nothing registers; the entire situation does not compute. None of the sounds coming out of that gaping hole in our face falls into a logical framework of communication. But they want to understand! They very desperately desire to comprehend! What is that space alien saying? Help! Their confusion is oddly charming.]

Truth be told, the speaking part always falters when complex concepts get brought up, but menus and most newspaper headlines do not present a problem, and I know my way around Tang era poetry pretty well.
So it isn't really useful, more a clever bit of dabbling.
A trained monkey, in action.

Passion fruit green tea, large glass, less sugar. None of that horrible tapioca scheiss.
['baak heung gwo lok cha, daai pui, siu tong. Mou bo baa.']

Truth be told, I had only gone in because my leg hurt. Normally I do not frequent bubble tea bars, as I would much rather have a hot cup of gong sik naai cha (港式奶茶 'harbour style milk tea'). But I was too far from one of the usual bakeries, and I spied an empty seat. I've been there a few times before, and I cannot say why it is but the ambiance is oddly Dutch.
I would have a hard time explaining that; it's probably just me.

Passion fruit with the added astringency of green tea is quite refreshing, and prepares the palate for the next pipeful of tobacco most marvelously.

*      *      *      *      *


After seven, the downtown all the way to Drumm Street is pleasantly quiet, both the office workers and the tourists have mostly gone away, and no one will interrupt your reverie.

I gave a young lady directions to Broadway while strolling.
Do you see where those bright lights are? There.
That was the only human interaction.

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