Last night we had made plans with some friends to meet for dinner at a new French restaurant in town that opened a few months ago. (Yay for more foreign food!) We were planning for an early dinner around 6 since it was a work night. I’ve been there once for a luncheon with International Club of Shenyang so I knew where it was, had pinned it in my iPhone (one of the greatest technologies ever I might add…) and then shared the pin with our friends (also one of the greatest technologies ever). We all planned to meet at the restaurant.
LB and I were the first ones to arrive. Our taxi dropped us on the main road and we walked down the little side street where the restaurant is. And here’s where the weirdness starts.
As we walked up, we realized everything was dark. Apparently they were closed. Now, first of all you have to understand that this is a little weird because in China, even the banks and post office are open seven days a week. Except for Chinese New Year, most places are open every day. Especially a restaurant at dinnertime. But as I mentioned, it was our first time and it is run by a foreigner so maybe this place is different. We didn’t think too much of it, just quickly tried to phone our friends to orchestrate a new game plan for dinner.
And here comes weirdness number two.
A Chinese guy walks up to us and says, in these exact words “Were you guys going to the french restaurant?” Yep, in perfect English.
I’m pretty sure we both just stared at him with dumbfounded looks on our face for about 10 seconds before we could answer with a nod.
So he says, “Yeah, I’m not sure where they are. I’m going to try to call them. I don’t know. Maybe everybody’s tired.”
Weird #3: Maybe everybody’s tired? They’re just not open… Because everybody’s tired. O. K. then.
So we’re still on the phone with friends trying to coordinate a new place to eat. He’s standing nearby, also on the phone.
A minute later he walks back up.
“Yeah, I just talked to them. They are tired tonight so they decided not to open. But if you guys want a drink I can let you in. I have the key.”
I still just don’t know what to say.
Finally, we just thanked him and told him we’d go eat somewhere else.
Only in China can you just decide to close because you’re tired, and then not tell the staff (as I’m assuming he was considering he had a key).
The funniest thing about this whole story is that the part I thought was weird was the guy coming up to us speaking perfect English and offering to call the owners. LB had to remind me that it was also not *normal* where we come from for a store to just close because they are “tired”. I think I’ve been in China too long…