Stick and I went back to our possible hutong home, mostly to see if we could find it on our own. We were successful, and I fell even more in love with the neighborhood. The area is Brick Factory Road, where the workers who built the bricks for the drum tower lived, but the inside has been renovated to include hot water and internet. I’m really hoping the bargaining stars will align and we’ll get our high-speed hutong.
Then we took a roundabout trip home, and stopped at Xizhimen to check out a sushi place. It’s on the 5th floor of the Xizhimen mall, but I don’t know the name. Well worth a visit if you’re looking for cheap, good sushi. (6-30 RMB for orders of various rolls) The beer is unfortunately restaurant price, it always makes me giggle to see a bottle that goes for three kwai in the supermarket appear on a menu for twenty. Not that that stopped us from ordering it.
The food was very good, the Tsingtao was Tsingtao, and Stick wasn’t quite done explaining the theory of relativity (I am not kidding), so we ordered another plate of cucumber sushi. The waitress came back a moment later with 12 RMB.
“Oh, I didn’t see you pay!” Stick said.
“What? I thought you paid!” I said.
Stick called the waitress over, and then I opened my mouth like a fish a few times. My survival Chinese has never been put to this test, I’ve never had to tell someone to take their money back! When she realized I had a problem with my change, she counted it back to me and showed that it was indeed 12 RMB. I finally made myself clear with my broken Mandarin (Women bu ge chien which I believe is the Chinese equivilent of “We no give money”). It is amazing that anyone ever understands me! Our waitress thanked us and sorted it out, but I think we gave her more than twelve kwai of trouble.