A Predator of Information

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? Go on singing.

Epic China Adventure: Part 3

20 March 2018 8:56 AM (China | Travel)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the quality of food one finds in the in-hotel restaurant of a Marriott is mediocre. At no point in my life was this better demonstrated to me than when I went to said restaurant, basically by accident, ordered tea with my meal, and discovered I had been given Lipton. How do I know?

I might add, at this point, that I am in China. I expect that the Chinese, generally, know how to brew tea in the way that most American restaurants do not. There are many fine and good ways to brew tea and most of them involve giving someone a cup or pot with tea of a strength and level of extraction in it. It in no way consists of giving someone a (cold) pot, a single teabug not nearly large enough to serve the size of the pot, and a vessel of water that at one point may have been boiling. So I got to see the teabag.

It was black. Oh, and they gave me milk and sugar. I might add that I ordered actual Chinese food, it claimed to be spicy and flavored with Sichuan peppercorn (though it was very little of either). They could have simply given me low grade, badly prepared green tea or oolong. Or black tea from China. But no. They gave me weak, low-grade black tea-dust from India or Ceylon or probably Kenya, to be honest, since Kenya is where a lot of black tea with a bland, vaguely 'Subcontinental' teroir can be bought on the cheap.

With milk. And sugar.

Did I mention that earlier this day I was at my employer's office and looked in the kitchen for tea and saw a big box of Lipton teabags? Green teabags, to be fair. But Lipton? I have had enough.

The people of China (well, okay, a restaurant and an office kitchen) have insulted me. It is as if one of them came to America seeking a hot dog and instead I gave them a sausage casing stuffed with ground-up meat from the hooves and snouts and...okay, bad example. There shall from this day forward be enmity between me and the people of China. My ancestors shall disrespect their ancestors! My children shall strive against their children!

Other than that it's been quite a nice trip. I managed to ask for my destination and pay a cab driver and get myself and the people with me where we were going. A woman at the office asked me if I were Christian (probably because my given name is Biblical) and I said "No, but my parents are." (She informed me that she was Christian. Which was nice. I wasn't sure how open people were about that sort of thing.)

I mentioned it during the cab ride and one of the people with me brought up Falun Gong, and I briefly wondered if the effect we gave was analogous to a bunch of people piling into a cab, speaking a foreign language, and casually mentioning Scientology and the Branch Davidians.

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