Sunday, 15 February 2009

West Invades East on Valentine's Day

Yesterday I spent my first Valentine's Day in China. It was quite remarkable to see, yet again, how the West is influencing China. I wasn't expecting it to be any different from any other day really, I knew Web would make a big deal out of the occasion but I thought that would be it -- I was completely wrong, again. The streets were crammed with couples, flowers were being sold at extortionate prices, and it was near impossible to book a restaurant for dinner. I know for sure that China's own version of Valentine's day -- on 7th July in the lunar calendar -- is not celebrated anything like its Western counterpart.

Kimi and I, with Johann and his girlfriend, had planned to eat together in an Italian restaurant called Naples. Kimi called to book a table but she was told that we would have to pre-pay to guarantee our arrival. We didn't do that as we had no time to get there in the day, so instead we took a chance and went to the restaurant anyway. As luck would have it, as we entered, a couple were leaving.

The food was a welcome change, we ordered bruschetta, Cesar salad, pizzas, and steaks (I had a pineapple pizza). With a few drinks added onto that, the bill came to a very westernized price too: 530 RMB (about £54), as our jaws hit the table, Johann and I quiveringly took out our wallets. The restaurant had even hired a violinist who was playing a rather unique repertoire, with tunes ranging from "Edelweiss" to the theme from "The Godfather".


The Acolyte Tao said...

Interesting, I watched a documentary on outsourcing jobs to Indian and the majority of Indian youth have picked up American holidays. For example, Indian is becoming way more Westernized and 50% of the population is below the age of 25, and we sadly know youth of other countries a lot of the time try to be like America idiotically.

But I spent my Valentines sick, still sick, and was sick before that. Ugh, I just want to know what I did to get this. -.-


Johnny Ding said...

Lucky that you got the seats in the restuarant. My friend wanted to book but was told sorry. He was trying to date a girl whom he might marry to.

For me, I was just there with my students at home helping their homework. God bless me a different valentin'e's day next year.

mabelp said...

Good! In HK, it's not easy for u to book a restaurant on Valentine's day too. I think the most happiest ones for this kind of event are the bosses of restaurants. Yeah!

大眼睛熊 said...

Hey, that was a lovely dinner isn't it, i liked it, and it was good to catch up with Johann and his girlfriend! Thanks for the roses, they're beautiful!! The picture is good too! :D xxxxxxxx

I.S. said...

Is the 540RBM per person or for the 4 of you? I wouldn't think it's expensive if it's for four. I remember paying at least that much in Wenzhou 6 months ago in almost all the restaurants we went to. Or were we just getting ripped off? :)

Anonymous said...

Valentines Day=One big rip off

It's just another normal, miserable day like Christmas, why all the excitement?

Chris said...

The Acolyte Tao, sorry to hear you were sick on Valentine's day. I hope you are better now.

I.S., yes the 540RMB was for all of us. I think I have become so accustomed to paying 40 RMB for a meal for 4 people that having to pay more than 100 feels like I am really forking out the cash. Maybe when you came to Wenzhou you were taken to all of the "best" restaurants. Usually we go to the kind of restaurants where the decor costs less than 500 RMB, :D

Alex, I hear you on that one!!