Thursday, April 03, 2008

Wretched Tea Stand

It's weird how much this affects my life, but it does.

There was a tea stand a few doors down from Hess that I would buy tea from once or twice a day. Two sisters (I assume) ran it, and sometimes a guy I think was their dad helped out. When I walked up they would say "lu cha?" (green tea), my usual order, but wouldn't act put out if I ordered something else, and always understood my Chinese, whether I wanted it with no ice, a little ice, warm or hot. They also had fried foods you could get- like sweet potatoes or chicken or tofu. Good snacks. The green tea was $15 (very reasonable- there are places where it's $10 but not many) and they had straws that are wrapped in plastic, rare for a place whose green tea is under $20.

Randomly one day it started to open at 2, which meant I couldn't buy tea at 1:30 before my first class. So I tried to find another tea stand but all the other ones are too expensive, or too filthy, or I don't like the tea. There is one that is a block away that is expensive but good, and sometimes very busy. So every day before work I'm mad because I can't buy tea at the original place, because I have to buy gross tea or expensive tea that makes me almost late.

The dad and a couple of inefficient girls started to run the stand. The one always asks me stupid questions- stupid becuase I can't understand them. And as modest as I am about my Chinese in general (which is still pretty bad), my tea Chinese is pretty top-notch.

Then, today, I really started craving some pearl milk tea during my 5:00 class. And I can't drink tea after dinner or I can't sleep but I didn't care, I just really wanted it. So I ran down to the stupid tea stand during the 10-minute break between classes, and ordered the tea, and they said, we have no pearls. (A tea stand running out of "zhen zhu" is like Starbucks running out of, I don't know, whatever they use to make frappuccinos.) So I asked for regular milk tea. And as the one girl is making mine, another girl was making some juice and stirred it with this long spoon, and then drank off the spoon. Kind of gross but it wasn't mine. Then my girl was using a coctail shaker thing to shake my tea, and she drank what was left in the little cover, right from the cover she was using to pour my tea! So gross! So I told her I didn't want it, and she asked why, and, my Chinese being insufficient, I said "Because you (drinking motion)". Then I just walked away. So I probably lost all my face there but I don't care. It's so sad- something that was such a happy part of my daily routine is now cursed.

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