Bad Chinese

"Bu Tai Gue Le" How to Piss Off The Waitress and Still Get Her Digits

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By Joshua Dent

Taiwan women, Thailand women, Viet Nam women, Indonesian women, Filipino women, American women, are just a few of the different kinds of women that you come across here in “The Taiwan.”

Needles to say, at 35 and single, it didn’t take moving to Taiwan for me to realize I understand NONE of them.

Today, in The Jongli, was a rather unique day. The weather was fair for this time of the year. It is almost always overcast, with some sort of drizzle, or threat of rain ahead.

Luckily, it is getting a little warmer. So, the drizzle doesn’t bring that bone-chilling cold that the humid winter months seem to bring on the northern part of the island.

After my two hour Chinese class this morning, I decided I was going to visit this Vietnamese restaurant situated by the train station.

It had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with me actually wanting Vietnamese food. It had everything to do with the waitress that worked there.

She didn’t wait on me the last time I was there.  But,  since my last visit to restaurant Saigon, I had been wanting to come back to see this girl.

There was something just mysterious and sexy about a 32 year old Vietnamese girl in a mini-skirt.

Maybe, it was because I had never seen an attractive Vietnamese girl besides in “the movies” before.

I walked past Saigon restaurant at approximately 2 p.m. today. I tried to casually look inside the restaurant as if I was scouting out some magical Vietnamese place to cure my afternoon hunger. The real truth is Vietnamese food is way too fucking spicy for me. And, I actually cried the last time I was in the restaurant due to the degree of spiciness.

So, in a true 14 year old manner, I walked right past the restaurant the first time when I realized she was the only one working, and there were no customers.

It was just like any 9th grade kid going to the door of some girl’s house for the very first time. I walked past so quick I just didn’t even realize what happened.  As I was walking past the restaurant, and on to the Thai restaurant next door, something crazy nearly happened.

I came within a 6 inches of walking right into 4 tiny Taiwanese people carrying some sort of 15 foot long led pipe out the front of their store.  They of course got very nervous when they realized I was American. I think one of them said ” AH, So Sorry” and a round of nervous laughs ensued.

The thought of getting smacked upside the head with a lead pipe on a Friday afternoon must have somewhat brought me to my senses. Without thought, I headed right back to Saigon for some delicious Vietnamese food (Cough, Cough, Cough) That is code for I wanted to see this really hot Vietnamese girl again.

She seemed happy enough to see a customer when I walked in. She handed me the menu, and came back after a few minutes.

My Chinese is still pretty shit for being here 5 months. I told her right away with complete confidence when I ordered my food ” Bu Tai Gue Le. “

She kept on saying “Bu Tai Gue Le?? ” and looked at me like I was some sort of complete dickhead. I started to get frustrated as to why she couldn’t understand what I felt like was completely flawless Chinese.

I was even acting out my request by taking my hand,  and opening up my mouth while waiving my hand downward. Do you get the picture yet? I was trying to say not too spicy.

But, the asshole look came from the fact that  I was actually saying “Not too EXPENSIVE.” That was a well validated ASSHOLE look.

Ok fair enough, I would think I was an asshole too if somebody was demanding in horrible Chinese “not too expensive” on a non-negotiable menu price.

But, suddenly as she walked back from the kitchen, I noticed this woman of complete beauty had an uncontrollable smile on her face. I had my Chinese book out as I was pretending to study in an attempt to impress her.

She sat down less than 2 inches away from me at a table with absurd amounts of space. I got my game smile on right away. I thought “Wow, could it really be this easy today?”

She motioned to me that she wanted to take a picture of us together. Being the “Rico Suave” that I am, my instinct to put my arm around her kicked right in. With no slap or hesitation from her, I thought I was in really good shape for a fun afternoon.

She didn’t say much as she sat next to me. She was having a hard time understanding my Chinese, and she didn’t speak ONE word of English.

She did keep on saying “Ni Hao Kan” which means you are very good looking. Of course, I kept saying how pretty she is. Then, she showed me all the people on her facebook getting excited about her meeting an actual American.

She even had two other friends come in that were way hotter than she was.

I offered to buy them beer several times, and tried to be as friendly and outgoing as possible. But, after their initial bursts of outgoingness, it was like climbing the Great Emotional Wall of China in getting them to open up a bit.

Maybe, they had that brief moment of maybe this dude is dumb enough to marry me, and that slipped away quickly

Anyway, it was a fun and unique experience in a Vietnamese Kareaoke restaurant that I wanted to share before I forget most of the details.  I am extremely thankful that I get to have these completely random, weird, and off the wall days. It makes life fun!