Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Delicate Flowers

I realize that I'm saying a lot about Mr. Li but he is possibly the kingpin of our experience. I've never been in a position to have a driver or a caretaker like this and it's invaluable. I don't know how we will ever repay him but rest assured that is on our minds almost constantly.

An example of his deep caring is our lunch today. Queen Bee and I asked him for a recommendation and he checked to see if we liked vegetables and meat with our noodles. We do! So he drove us to a small restaurant with wooden tables and stools. He pointed out a place for us to sit while he ordered for us, he had already eaten while we were wandering the French Concession.

"No, we have to pay." we reminded him. His child-like grin broke out and he refused to take our money. A few moments later he brought over our ticket and showed us the number, reminding us to listen carefully for it to be called. He reiterated that he'd be right outside in the car and off he went.

A few minutes later, before our food had arrived he came back in and conferred with the girl at the counter. I wondered if he was complaining that we hadn't been served yet. The girl pointed him to a wash up room so I thought he might be getting himself something. A woman in that room leaned in then handed him two mugs and he came to our table.

"The noodles are maybe a little bit...salty." he said, "So I bought this." He'd gone to a store and bought us a big can of the guava juice we'd enjoyed with our duck dinner. He poured it for us then went out to the car.

The lunch was delicious, I hardly need to say that. We've yet to be steered wrong by our guardian. Thicker noodles than the ones on our first day, mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, beef and perhaps a tiny bit of tofu. The broth was a little thicker as well. Queen Bee added a little spicy oil from the pot on the table to hers and she loved that kick. When we couldn't hold another thin noodle we headed out to the car.

We told Mr. Li how much we loved it and he told us that he was glad but that the specialty of the house was actually....he had to grab his fantastic little pocket digital translator. After a minute or two he showed us the screen and it said, "bowel, intestine." "Tripe!" I said.

"But most foreigners don't like that."

I made noises about how I'd heard it was really good but we thanked him SO much for knowing us well enough to order us the beef and vegetables instead.

Have you ever been taken care of so carefully by someone who wasn't close to family? He is incredible. And we are incredibly lucky.


  1. Mr. Li is one of those people. I wish I encountered more of them than I do, and I'm grateful to the Universe that you're being so well cared for!

  2. Chris's mom eats tripe. I want Mr. Li to come live with me.

  3. Can Mr. Li please come to Brooklyn and drive me around to cool restaurants? Sounds like you are having a ball. I hope you're feeling better. Eddie is doing fine.