Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hong Kong Day 19-20: A dinner unlike no other

Day 19 began with a return trip to the Sha Tin Racecourse.  But to continue the theme of this entire trip, we were put up in the members only restaurant for the entire day so we wouldn't have to mix with the commoners.  Afterwards, my dad and I went straight to the wedding reception of the daughter of one of my mom's friends.  This would turn out to be quite the evening.

First, we were seated at our table, after which our table's server asked what I would like to drink, and gave me a list of options.  I decided on some orange juice, and the server poured the OJ into my glass...and then proceeded to splash some down on my chopsticks, spoon, the table, and my napkin.  And not just a bit.  There was so much OJ in my spoon that I could literally pour it back into the glass.  I had to dry off my chopsticks with my already-OJ-stained napkin.  It was the worse case of pouring that I had ever seen by a restaurant server.  This wasn't a one-time event, either.  Every time I would drink some OJ, the server would come by to refill my glass, and the exact same thing would happen.  This should have been a sign that it was not going to be an ordinary dinner.

If you're unfamiliar with how Chinese event dinners work, it goes like this: there are many courses to be shared by each table, usually around eight to ten.  The dish is brought to the table, we eat it, the server whisks it away, and on with the next dish.  At most restaurants (and all fancy restaurants), the server will split the dish up into bowls or plates for each person after bringing it to the table so that we don't have to do it ourselves.  The spill-prone server at our table splits up the first course, no problem.  After she is finished, some guy at our table tells her that she doesn't need to do that for future courses.  What the hell?  Why is this guy going out of his way to make more work for everyone at the table?  This annoyed me, and not just because I'm lazy.

And then we found out why.  When the second course came, the same guy made a beeline for the food as soon as it hit the table.  Instead of having the food equally split by the server, this guy asked for the server to not split the food so he could grab more of the food he likes for himself.

What an absolute asshat.

This goes on for every course - some courses, he's literally reaching across the Lazy Susan at our table to get at the food even as someone else is in the midst of serving themselves.  When it's food he's not interested in, he barely budges and goes to the next table to talk to his other friends.  Unbelievable.

Around the fifth course, Miss Spilly announces the next course (which is something that takes a bit of skill to split and can easily become messy) and asks if we would like to have her split it for us.  Right as I say "Yes, that's a good idea", another person (not the original asshat) says "No, we can do it ourselves".

I give up.

But the topper of the night happened shortly thereafter.  The guys at the next table had been drinking quite heavily, so right around the seventh course or so, someone passed out at the table.  At first, it looked like he was just sleepy, but it became clear that he was passed out drunk after a couple of minutes.  A few nudges did no good in waking him and it became clear that he was in no condition to continue the meal.

Here's the funny thing about Hong Kong restaurants: women barely tipping the scales at 100 pounds are everywhere, but there aren't a lot of beefy 200 pound guys to be found.  It became clear that his dead weight wasn't going to be moved by anyone from the restaurant staff, so a few of his friends made an effort in taking him out of the restaurant.

I don't think he moved an inch.

Clearly, there was nothing to be done...except continue eating.  That's right, the table proceeded onto the subsequent courses with a guy passed out headfirst on the table.  No joke.  They ate for a good half hour with this guy's face on the table like it was a table piece.

After they were done, it was time to wake him.  Those 100-pound women aren't very useful in moving heavy objects, but they can most definitely get you a bucket of hot water and some washcloths.  They also channeled their inner air stewardess by bringing him some bags for him to throw up in.  There's no need to get too graphic, but all you need to know is that we saw firsthand evidence of the brandy he had been drinking that night.

Nothing quite as exciting as that happened during Day 20.  We visited my uncle's place, which had quite the view, followed by...a family dinner.  Shocking, I know.
I was told that the fog made it hard to see, so this is what the view from my uncle's place looks like on a bad day.  OK then.

But the family dinner began for some - including me - at 4 PM so we could play some mahjong before the meal.  It doesn't matter what the gambling opportunity is on this trip, I'm going to take it.  I'm multi-talented that way.

Day 21 plans: Another suit fitting, another nationality-document pick (don't ask me what), followed by a lunch at some place called Aberdeen - I think I'm going floating tomorrow.  This will be followed by - you guessed it - a family dinner.

Actual hugs 3.5, non-hug greetings 26


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