Subject: SPECIAL Jamaican in China!–Life as we know it (a missive fi di massive)
From: [email protected]
Date: September 1, 2010 12:36:34 PM GMT+10:00
I will make this brief.
This is a special email. It is being sent out of sequence to a select group of people to share with you what just happened on my second day in China (even though you haven’t received the first day’s chronicle yet), because the significance of what I’m about to share with you defies adequate description in words, and can not be overstated.
Life on the planet as we know it, has been irrevocably altered.
And, in the familiar Yin/Yang “good news-bad news” construct:
First, the GOOD news:
Today, I found a VP2 style restaurant in Beijing!
For those of you who knew me in New York, you’ll recall the Chinese vegetarian restaurant, Vegetarian Paradise 3 (VP3), in New York’s Chinatown, which closed after Sept 11, and whose remaining sister location, VP2, is now thriving on West 4th Street in The Village close to New York University.
If so, you know what that restaurant represents to my life and gastric happiness, so you can already appreciate the earth-shattering, life-altering significance of what I’ve just shared with you.
The name of this restaurant is Tianchu Miaoxiang Vegetarian Restaurant (Chinese name: 天厨妙香素食(朝外店); found it on happycow.net). Out of courtesy to those who aren’t familiar, I won’t get into too much detail, but for those who know, it’s VP2 and then some! They’ve got a menu of about 20 pages, with all the mock meat, seaweed and veggie dishes we know and love, plus more stuff that exists here “at the source!”
Sample of a page of the menu
The manager, Christina–as the only one on staff who speaks English–catered to me, explaining dishes, and making suggestions. (I think I’m in love.)
Me and Christina
And finally, at the end of a sumptuous meal, which cost only 114RMB or about 16US, she refused to accept a tip–explaining Chinese culture and restaurant policy to me in the process. (A restaurant that won’t accept tips! Can life get any better than this?? Tell everyone you know: Heaven’s got a sign at the gate: “Cheapskates Welcome!“)
This in a city where everywhere I go, I’m besieged by friendly Chinese ladies who stare, smile, offer their numbers, and are making life quite pleasant. So, in any event, that’s the good news.
Now, the bad news.
um…today, I found a VP2 style restaurant in Beijing, China.
This means–my dear, sweet, close friends and family–you who’ve made my life special for all these years, and who mean the world to me–this means, you will likely never, ever, ever see me again.
flap, flap, flap, flap, flap….
[the sound of a curtain fluttering in the breeze….]