Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge

 

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For this weekly challenge Xingfu Mama will make a post every Friday morning. To play along: Create a post with a photo of places one sits or might sit, or art about sitting, and maybe a little background or story about the spot or a picture of the view.

  • Add a tag “Pull up a Seat”.
  • Add a link to your post in the Pull up a Seat comment section, either by writing a comment with your URL or by creating a pingback.
artiist

Painting in a Gold Coast art studio, 2018

You can see more posts by clicking here.

Come join the fun!

Disappointed

I’ve missed the Starbucks in my town’s downtown. It doesn’t have a drive through, but it’s located in a spot with other eateries and shops. It’s a spot where people of all ages can easily bike to. I was at the Dollar Store yesterday and walked over to the Starbucks to read a sign I saw on the door.

I was hoping to find out when this hub for conversation, meet ups, homework, and creative writing. A knitting group would meet weekly to make blankets for the needy. The staff was usual cordial.

Instead I saw a sign that this location was permanently closed. It said we should go to the Village Square. I wasn’t sure which strip mall was the Village Square. I’ve looked it up. It’s a strip mall adjacent to the expressway. It’s on a very busy street which no kid should be riding a bike along. It’s surrounded by other strip malls. It just isn’t a good replacement. There are loads of Starbucks locations, but many are cold and designed for in and out service.

Now we’re still locked down and not able to sit in a Starbucks even though our state has moved to a new CCP Virus phase when an eatery can have 25% occupancy. I believe we will return to eating inside eventually and when we do people will want a place to chat with friends, to study or write in a café or to plan for small business, knit or what have you. This change was not well thought through.

 

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge

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Northbrook, Illinois 2020

 

pull_up-_a_seat-badge

For this weekly challenge Xingfu Mama will make a post every Friday morning. To play along:Create a post with a photo of places one sits or might sit, or art about sitting, and maybe a little background or story about the spot or a picture of the view.

  • Add a tag “Pull up a Seat”.
  • Add a link to your post in the Pull up a Seat comment section, either by writing a comment with your URL or by creating a pingback.

You can see more posts by clicking here.

Come join the fun!

Halloween Starbucks Drinks in Japan

Simon and Martina take one for the team and test the Halloween-themed Starbucks drinks.

We’ve got a special Witches’ Brew Starbucks drink but though it looks funky, I don’t need the calories or the expense so they’ll be the ones to give the vicarious thrill.

At Starbucks

Yesterday after a few hours of waiting around to submit paperwork for my visa, I stopped by Starbucks for a semi-quiet place to read my Library class homework. I chose a corner table and seat.

From the time I got in line, I noticed an older woman with a very proud face taking pictures of a young woman in a purple shirt. She followed this girl around the café so I thought the girl was her daughter. The girl left and the woman returned to a seat in front of my table. She looked very artsy and youthful, but it was weird that she was taking so many pictures of people. You can do that on the street, but not inside a business or private venue without permission. She started to really irritate the customers.

At one point she grabbed a bag of coffee bean and started yelling questions to the baristas. They responded politely, but did look apprehensive.

A young couple sat on the other side of me. The woman started photographing them, particularly the woman, who immediately told her to stop. Then the photographer got angry. She did seem to be itching for a fight and she got one. She started yelling at the woman near me and showing her National I.D. card. The guy with the young woman started defending her. He then turned to me and said in English, that the photographer was crazy. I asked what she was saying and he said she’s telling everyone that she’s a college professor.

The argument escalated till the photographer threw her tumbler, which was full of milk, at the couple’s table. No one was hurt, but glass shattered everywhere and the milk splattered all over the place.

The manager came forward while the security guards were called. When a young, skinny guard, a young Chinese Don Knotts, arrived he just peered through the window. Eventually, two managers of the security company appeared and began talking with the photographer and the girl who was her target.

Two police officers came. The young one held a camera to record the interaction. The photographer became extra gracious and offered them seats at her table. The declined the offer and stood. There was some arguing back and forth and the older officer wrote some notes. New customers came in and gawked while lining up for their Frappuccino’s and cheesecake. Amidst all this yelling and attempts to deescalate the tension, I’m pretending to do homework and wishing I spoke Chinese.

Pretty soon, the photographer was asked to leave. I was surprised that the police just let her go. She was clearly mentally disturbed, still very angry, still able to take photos to annoy people and within walking range of at least a dozen coffee shops. I expected them to take her in to let her cool down and assess her story. She didn’t just take photos of people. She threw an object that she knew could hurt someone. That was her intention.

Over Coffee: China

Starbucks in Jinan is a blessing. Not just for cappuccino, but for community. Kristyn and I went and bumped into the American who’s opened an Italian restaurant here. Boy, does he have some stories.

This afternoon I learned a lot. Here are some tidbits:

  • All the flour, cheeses and spices are imported from Italy so getting them into China is a big project. This guy, let me protect his identity and call him Guy, was saying that he kept checking on a shipment. It hadn’t arrived and he’d been waiting and waiting. He thought the items were tied up in customs in the port city of Qingdao. Finally he gets a call from a bureaucrat, who tells him he should take a bunch of his colleagues out to eat. His wife, who’s Chinese, urges him to go along and to buy an iPad for each of the guests. So the lavish meal capped off by presentation a beautifully wrapped iPad for each guest. The next day Guy gets a call. “Your shipment is here in Jinan ready for delivery.”  Ugh.
  • Often when big shot guests come to the restaurant to impress colleagues, they’ll take someone aside and offer extra cash so the chef will use “the good ingredients.” Guy responds via a translator that all the ingredients are good and suggests they just buy desert with the extra money.
  • Some people in Jinan have asked him to import wine that costs 500,000 rmb a bottle. That’s almost $80,000.
  • I learned that Jinan is a military town and home to what could be called the Chinese Pentagon.
An SVG map of China with Shandong province hig...

An SVG map of China with Shandong province highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Guy wanted to find an organic farm for his produce. Most of the ones he visited were showrooms with lots of photos of perfect vegetables and most of the organic produce here isn’t organic at all. There’s a lot of fraud. He did find one honest organic farmer though.
  • The sea salt in Chinese should be avoided. It’s highly polluted.
  • Customs didn’t want to let Guy’s sea salt from Italy in. They asserted that it had some other chemical in it. He assured them that it didn’t. Mind you Guy’s got a strong background in chemistry from his first career in pharmacy In the end they said to fill a shaker of salt with Chinese salt for that to be tested. Oh, and yes, pay a bribe. He’s well known at the Apple reseller here.

We did talk about how good-hearted most Jinan-ites are. It wasn’t completely negative, but it is interesting to hear about the experiences other expats have.