Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Strange Combination

I saw this restaurant in Milan, Italy, this past Monday. I did a double-take. This restaurant serves Chinese and South American food. What? I've never seen that combination in a restaurant. I studied geography in high school, and I'm fairly certain that the Chinese people and people of South America are in totally different areas of the world! They may not even share a border!

I can only imagine the scene: a flight from Beijing to Buenos Aires. In seat 22A, Wenxin starts chatting with Pablo, who's seated in 22B. Pablo tries to tell Wenxin (in Spanish) that he doesn't understand Chinese, to which Wenxin (in Chinese) tries to tell Pablo that he doesn't speak Spanish. They stop talking.

An hour later, the flight attendants bring them their meals. They each notice the other scowling at the airline food at which point they both look at each other with delight - OMG, you're a foodie too and you can't stand bad food! They start walking up and down the aisle, looking for a passenger who could speak both Chinese (Mandarin, naturally) and Spanish (Argentinian dialect). It turns out there are about 50 people on board that fit the bill and so they choose the prettiest among them (I won't say if it is a man or a woman) and they proceed to discuss opening a restaurnat that served both Chinese and Argentinian food. Not good enough, they decide, it has to be food from ALL of South America.

But where to open it? Why, the only fair thing to do is to open it halfway between China and South America - Milan, Italy! So they both decide to learn Italian with bad Chinese / Argentinian accents and open a restaurant. The translator they have found is looking for a job so they hire her (OK, it's a woman! sheesh!) as the receptionist. She didn't really want to move to Milan, though, because her husband has a high-level government job in Buenos Aires, so they decide to use modern technology and let her be a receptionist virtually through a video feed. From the comfort of her home, through a laptop sitting at the reception desk in the restaurant, she greets customers coming in and asks them the usual questions. She then asks one of them to pick up the laptop and turn it around so she can direct them to their table. Once seated, she asks one of them to bring her back to the reception desk.

So far, so good...sort of!

P.S. Sorry about the scaffolding in front of the restaurant. I asked the workers to move it so I could take a good photograph for my blog and they responded by saying I could put the blog someplace. I didn't catch the place.

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