The girls and I had a lunch date yesterday at a new mall near our house. By near, I mean we walk to the bus stop outside our gate, cross the street Frogger style, pausing on the yellow line for the second half of the street to clear up, wait patiently for the correct bus to appear, quickly gauge whether or not we want to press on with the hundreds of other sweaty, non deodorant using people or wait for the next one with hopes of empty space, then go four stops down, get off, dodge water puddles that may or may not actually be water while remaining aware of speeding scooters that won’t hesitate to maim you. Finally, the golden arches beam like a ray of sunshine calling out to all the naive people who haven’t been reading the news.
Apparently while we were gallivanting across Chiangmai drinking a years supply of Manao, the factory that produces the food for McDonalds and other popular chains was shut down due to hazardous health practices.
Their menu was “limited”. They weren’t joking. We had 3 choices. Egg McMuffin with cheese. Egg McMuffin with cheese and ham, or a fish sandwich. Hash browns or fries for the side. Good thing we don’t have a problem eating fries and ice cream for lunch!
As we were finishing up our well rounded, healthy meal, I was approached by a woman in a sheer green gauzy top wearing a big smile. She began to say something like this, “blah blah blah (in Chinese) your kids blah blah very pretty blah blah take pictures blah 2nd floor. So, all those English classes about context clues in high school? They are remembered. I made up the rest of the sentence in my mind and pretended that I knew exactly what she was trying to say to me. I told her I would ask my friend when she returned and if she was willing, we would come up to see them.
Seeing as how we were in an adventurous mood having braved the “limited menu” already, we headed up to let people take pictures of our kids with secret hopes in our hearts that one day we would see them on the side of a bus. Not really. Because, well, we are moving. Translate that into packing all morning, not getting dressed until 10 minutes before walking out, and let’s be realistic. The mamas will also be in the pictures. BIG white people. And I was in a hat because my hair looked like I played with electricity. And makeup is overrated these days. I did, however, find my earrings on the table as I walked out!
As we were ushered into a fabulous new restaurant, we quickly found out that they wanted to give us a free sampling of their menu. We only had to enjoy it and allow them to capture it on video. (We did explain to our children that they had to mind their facial expressions when they tasted something a little odd). We needn’t have worried. Our tables were soon filled with ice cream served in martini glasses, lattes, mochas with sprinkles, yogurts, noodles, more ice cream and then a magical flower tea party. The girls had a blast! And as the only coffee drinker, I truly enjoyed all the coffee and had bountiful energy the rest of the day. Gracie was asked to pretend to choose a book from their little library and read a bit. They were all in characters, so she had to dig fast for her acting skills. To complete the experience, we got to sign the wall and ham it up with a thumbs up and highly exaggerated facial expressions as we all said, “Fei chang hao!!” (extremely good).
China never seems to disappoint when it comes to adventure making. A lunch date to McDonalds sounded fun, but my imagination couldn’t have fathomed the memories that would be made!