How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Bejing at Last (Part 2)



Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

At last, we arrived at the hotel and were given an hour to freshen up before the welcoming dinner in the hotel dining room. Would I stay awake that long?


The hotel is classified 5-Star and this is the lobby. Although splendid and attention-grabbing, it was not spectacular.

Table number 4, awaited, set for eight and covered with a red tablecloth. A yard-wide-diameter glass Lazy Susan (size approximate) adorned the center.

I heard neck vertebrae snap. Sue and I gawked at each other. The waitress attended to the men first. She shook out each cloth napkin and placed one corner beneath the dinner plate—smaller than a bread plate—with the opposite corner on a lap. Picture a square napkin held by one corner with points facing north and south and east and west. This placement also protected the overhang of the tablecloth, I imagine, should anyone dribble while eating. Fallen food could s-l-i-d-e down the napkin and into your lap, but not onto the floor. What do you do with the resulting ‘leftovers’? Mash them into the napkin?

Recreation of place setting

Re-creation of place setting

Did I hear the ruffle of rooster tail feathers? I bet the men in our party hadn’t felt this special since Momma kissed a boo boo. This goes to show how different our east/west worlds still are, and will in all probability never change, or I might be wrong. I giggled into my hand and figured the men might as well enjoy the attention. We females rolled our eyes. It’s possible no one even noticed we did except us.

Once everyone’s serviettes had been organized, the subject of drinks came up. Choices of beverages were water, a soft drink (Coke or ginger ale and never diet) or beer. Once the apportioned amount per table was used up, too bad. The waitress opened two small bottles of water but this wasn’t enough for all the thirsty visitors. Substitutes for soft drinks and/or beer instead of water were unfathomable to staff; no swapping and no flexibility. Our guide, Robert, offered to go to the store to buy more but the hotel staff wouldn’t allow that either. (More on drinks later).

We were called the English Group 8. Another group followed us some time later, a full busload called the French Group from Quebec and area. Busy at our own table, I still overheard a loud voice call: une, deux, trois upon their arrival. Why were these adults being treated like children, I wondered but pushed the thought away.

First dinner in China (menu incomplete due to my befuddled brain)

Robert hung around to describe the platters of food (family style) as they were placed on the Lazy Susan before he left for the subway and an hour’s ride home.

  • Hors d’oeuvres: anchovies sandwiched between thin slices of pork (a guess)
  • Tiny cucumbers, about an inch long, (looked like beginning baby growths) served as a salad
  • Bean salad, French cut
  • Cabbage something (tasty)
  • Corn soup (no corn found, and no corn flavor)
  • Sweet and sour pork (most familiar taste)
  • Cauliflower
  • Fried rice with peas
  • Beef slices
  • Pork, thick slices of boiled bacon (boiled fat, ugh)
  • For dessert: raw pumpkin slices (unflavored, not well-liked) and dates

Dinner over, neither Sue nor I recalled what time we called it a night. I imagine we collapsed into bed soon afterward, thankful for a pillow and a comfy bed.  The unnerving thing is neither of us has any recollection. None. We can’t even embellish a story under threat of pain or suffering.

Take a gander at this, our bathroom with a peekaboo wall. What? Why?



You’re going to scratch your head and we did as well. After finding this oddity, no-one we asked gave a straight answer. Not even our tour guide. He mumbled something about watching television from the bath. An expensive glass wall to enjoy TV if you ask me. A Venetian blind hangs in place to open or close. Here the bottom half has been turned down for privacy. Check out these links for comments:


A few additional facts about China:

  • China has FOUR municipalities: Beijing (the capital), Chongqing, Shanghai, and Tianjin
  • There are 55 nationalities, PLUS the Han People who are the majority at 93%
  • The rest are minorities
  • Mandarin is the main language.
  • Although written the same all over the country, the dialects are different. Everywhere.


Next On January 27th: Beijing (Part 3): First Tour Day

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

57 thoughts on “Bejing at Last (Part 2)

  1. Rooster tail feathers indeed… I can imagine your thoughts, Tess. Napkins in men’s laps first, nasty women served last.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Mega hugs!


  2. Loved it. Well, not the see through bathroom! I looked at the links you provided to see if there was any justification for such a thing. Looking forward to your next post.


  3. All very impressive – except the bathroom. lol 🙂


    • Couldn’t get a straight answer on that. The tour guide didn’t look comfortable. You’d think he’d be used to it since this was his first tour. There should be something prepared for the o_O westerners.


  4. Thanks, Tess. The links helped explain the bathroom window. Look forward to the rest of the tour,


  5. Love this trip down Memory Lane.


  6. Oh my gosh Tess, it’s like going back with you 🙂


  7. I’d have been frantic for some chocolate and champagne after that dinner! I’m quite sure I’d have opted for beer and tossed a sheet over that Venetian blind! And I’ve no doubt I’d have had something to say about the preferential treatment given to the male of the species. It wouldn’t have been the first time my Aries fire threatened to get me into trouble 😊 I hope you were able to extract a modicum of enjoyment out of the experience, Tess 😊 ♥


  8. So the first day fun began, Tess! The food sounded interesting! Bathroom window a bit strange! Look forward to more of this adventure! 🎶 Christine


  9. Such different customs as we travel. Men first you say? Sounds like my rural Canadian upbringing. 🙂


  10. It is so interesting to discover and enjoy different cultures. Here in South Africa, men are also traditionally served first with food.


  11. They attend to men first because they are practising so that they get it right for the ladies. That meal doesn’t sound so good – no wine!


  12. great post, story and very enjoyable…


  13. So much fun to read again!!


  14. Maybe they expect their customers to be curious as to what is going on in the main part of the suite while they bath.

    Pork is not a preferred meat for me unless it’s thin-sliced bacon fried until almost burnt, and three strips are enough.


  15. Another enjoyable read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Enjoying very much of course Tess.. it is in the Blogger Daily.. a fixture.. hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  17. When we were in China, Tess, we had a similar Lazy Susan in the middle of the table. Always the same chap held onto it while he served himself with whatever he wanted. It was hilarious to watch the other tourists trying to turn it. By the way, I didn’t let the waitress arrange Husband’s napkin in his lap… no one touches Husband’s lap only me!! Love these posts.x

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 21st January – Canada, Portugal, China and Acceptance | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  19. I bet the men were loving their moment of being fussed over, it seems so strange that they still do this.
    Not keen on that bathroom window, seems a bit odd, but at least you had the blind! 🙂


  20. First of all, I love the image (Sally designed it?). The post is tragically hilarious! With all my menu substitutions, they would NEVER serve me, LOL! Japanese servers also fuss over men, even at US restaurants. Most Asian cultures serve the men first. Have you had dim sum? Maybe you will post about that 🙂


    • Yes, Sally designed it and surprised me with it. We did somewhere farther along the line.I have fascinating entertainment coming up in the series. These people train like nobody else. Performances were spectacular.
      Thanks for reading, Terri. Always nice to have one more along.:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I always think I’ll never forget the unforgettable places I’ve been to but I always forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Why do I remember this post? Why the bathroom wall of course, lol. 🙂 xo

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It may be a reblog, but for those that did not know you and your blog back then, Tess. 😀
    I have family coming to dinner on Saturday. Dare I try the napkin trick? 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  24. As you can see the napkin trip has a lot going for it. Keeps the edge of the tablecloth dry, your, lap dry. Gather anything that lands down, smush it and leave on the table or plate. 😀 😀 I bet you can even take the corner from your lap and stuff if into the open front of your shirt if someone tends to dribble. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A peekaboo wall?! Lol, why is this?
    Also, about the Blog Battle, I tried to reply to your comment: I’m sadly swamped with working on my novel, and haven’t had the mental energy to write stories. But one day I do want to return to the Battle! ❤

    Liked by 1 person