The Great Wall of Kentucky
Wow, there sure seems to be a lot of talk about the Chinese of late ( probably thanks to Dana ). It seems that those damned confusing and secretive Chinese are really stirring up a lot of trouble in Thailand as well as world wide! Hell, they own about
90% of the U.S. debt. Also, I work in retail and I can tell you first hand that at least 90% of the products on our shelves are made in China. Then to make matters worse, more and more American companies are moving their factories to China in
pursuit of cheap labor. Then to make this seemingly unsolvable circle complete, the Chinese are becoming fed up with being over worked and under paid, so they decide to come here to the " Golden Mountain " to earn more money and make
a better life for themselves. They often seek out or are recruited by a Human Trafficker referred to as a " Snakehead " where they accrue a debt anywhere from $35.000.00 to $ 60,000.00 U.S. An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 illegal Chinese
enter the U.S. each year only to be enslaved in a world of debt bondage, long work hours, inhumane working and living conditions and most of their very hard earned pay ( which I know first hand isn't very much ) goes to pay off the "
Snakehead ". The circle is complete. It's sad to say, but " The wheel goes round and round " and there doesn't seem to be an end to it as far as I can see.
At the start of this piece, it may have sounded like I have a major problem with the Chinese, but that is far from the truth. Quite frankly, I blame the U.S. Government and the greedy companies that are looking to exploit cheap labor in other countries. Now our own government has invaded 2 countries, ousted their governments and occupied them. And on the other hand, China owns 90% of the U.S. debt ? No matter how you color it, China now owns 90 % of our country, and all of this without any invading Chinese troops! Gotta give the Chinese a lot of credit, that's pretty smart! And even if the Chinese did decide to invade, I think that it would be a cake walk. Hell, we can't even control our own borders. If unarmed illegal immigrants can cross our borders almost at will, what will happen if some pissed off country decides to invade with armed troops ? Actually, I believe that a third world country such as El Salvador could take us with no problem at all. Wake up America, soon we will all be speaking Mandarin ? Spanish ? Maybe both ? Do you remember the movie
" Red Dawn" ?
Now that I've gotten all of that off my chest, I'll get to the reason that I decided to write this piece.
In an effort to try to figure out what makes the Chinese tick, I set out on a tour of the local Chinese restaurants both here in Kentucky as well as Tennessee. These Chinese restaurants offer by far the best opportunity for Americans to come into direct contact with the Chinese people, and let me tell you, there are a hell of a lot of them! There are more Chinese restaurants here in America than
Mc Donalds, and that's an official statistic. Along my journey, I had the unfortunate opportunity of meeting victims of Human Trafficking. I won't go into that subject very much because I've already written a couple of submissions on the subject. Also, 2 of the Chinese restaurants have recently been raided by ICE ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement ). Just see if you can guess which ones are involved in Human Trafficking as well as which ones were raided by ICE. Towards the end of this piece, I will also include a story about a new Thai restaurant that recently opened here.
At the begging of my tour, I encountered Chinese Restaurant #1. If you want drama, adventure and entertainment, this is the place to go. Since this one is close to home, I have the chance to get my " Drama " fix whenever I need it ( you guessed it, I get off on drama, life is boring to me without it ).
The people who run this joint are from Hong Kong. It's basically a family operation with the exception of some mainland Chinese, Mexicans ( that's just weird ), a Thai girl and an Indonesian guy. As you can see, this place is without a doubt a cultural melting pot. If you want to hear Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai, Malay and Spanish all spoken in the same joint, this is the place to go. One would think that the drama comes from the clash of cultures, but one would be wrong. The drama comes from the Hong Kongers, Hong Kongese, not sure what to call 'em.
One day an American customer went to get a baby's high chair. Once the Hong Kongese manager saw this, she rushed at him and tried to yank it from his hands. This dude refused to let go which resulted in the Hong Kongese chick dragging him about 5 feet across the floor. Finally, the dude just gave up and let her have the high chair which she deposited right in front of the door which leads into the kitchen. Then the guy just laid the baby on the floor ( I guess Dana was right about the baby on the floor thing ) .
Then the next thing I knew, a Mexican customer went for the high chair. Let me tell you, this dude was one mean looking Hombre . He looked like he would rip your head off and shit a Taco down your throat in a heartbeat. Did Miss Hong Kong try to wrestle the high chair from this Hombre? Oh hell no, guess she doesn't like Tacos !
I've seen these Hong Kongese girls yank bowls out of customers hands while they were filling them with rice or sweet and sour sauce, I've seen them run into customers and knock their plates from their hands with Egg Drop Soup and Sweet and Sour Chicken spilling all over the floor, this place is amazing !
I have done everything know to man to get close to these people to no avail, however, I have earned their respect. You see, it's not a cultural issue with these people. Since most of them are female, this is a female issue. If you think that if you let a female have her way earns you respect with her, you are very wrong. She will play you for a fool to get what she wants and then throw you into the trash once she has extracted all that she can from you, no matter what culture she is from. American girls know this game very well as do females world wide.
When these girls are rude to me, I call them on their bullshit ( while being polite as well ) and I've noticed that the next time that I go to their restaurant, they show respect . Get the point ?
Even with this in mind, this restaurant is a never ending adventure with more drama, excitement and adventure than one could imagine.
In fact, one could film a soap opera at this place. Just for fun, I've thought up a few names for this Chinese restaurant soap opera.
" The Young and the Chinese " ?
" The Chinese and the Restless " ?
" The Chinese of our Lives " ?
" The Days of our Chinese Restaurants " ?
" The Chinese Restaurants of our lives" ?
" General Chinese Restaurants" ?
" Chinese Restaurant Hospital" ( which may be true if they are serving dog meat ) ?
Ok, now lets get to Chinese restaurant # 2. This one is also in my town. When I first walked in, I was greeted by an American girl. Then as I was looking around, I noticed that all of the employees were American. Not much of a chance to mix with the Chinese here, the only Chinese in this place is the owner, though at one time they had a Thai girl and some Mexicans ( again, weird ) working there. I knew the Thai girl personally, but not personally enough if you get my drift. She was by far the most beautiful creature that I have ever laid my eyes upon. She has vanished from the radar screen though, don't know what happened to her. Word on the street has it that she just happened to overstay her student visa for a couple of years. One person told me that she is back in Bangkok working with her mother in an airport, another said that she is in Mexico City teaching her Amigos how to cook " Red Curry " ( this Chinese / Mexican / Thai mix is just way too much for me, Tacos, Egg Drop Soup and Red Curry ? Gotta have some Ex Lax just thinking about it ! ). Enough about this joint, time to visit Chinese Restaurant # 3.
Chinese restaurant # 3 . This one is in Tennessee. When I walked into this place, I noticed that it looked exactly like Chinese restaurant # 1 . The same decorations, same uniforms, same cold treatment, same everything. Oh, I almost forgot the Mexicans working in the kitchen ( I won't say it again, what the hell, yes I will, WEIRD ) . My Hong Kongese waitress made no attempt to refill my drink, so as an insult, I left this wench a 25 cent tip. Her reaction ? She just looked at me and huffed, guess she expected a tip for nothing. The only thing lacking here is a Hong Kongese chick dragging customers across the floor . Time now to check out Chinese restaurant # 4.
Chinese restaurant # 4. This one is also in Tennessee. This is one of those take out delivery places. When I first walked in, it was obvious that these Chinese people were not at all comfortable with me being there. I felt bad vibes all over the place. I was having visions of myself becoming a part of a new Chinese dish called " Kentucky Boy Ragoon ", so I got the hell out of there, fast ! I fired up my Chevy, yanked into first gear and left a trail of tread marks that would've made Burt Reynolds or Bo and Luke Duke drool ( yep, I've watched way too much " Smokey and the Bandit " and " Dukes of Hazard " ), then I made a bee line towards the Kentucky State Line !
Time now for some new Chinese dishes.
" Rat Drop Soup "
" Pitt Bull Chow Mein "
" Cat Fried Rice "
" Cat Drop Soup "
'" Cat Fu Young "
" Sweet and Sour Kitty Cat "
" Sweet and Sour Possum " ( this one will go over well here in Kentucky, a lot of these rednecks actually eat that shit )
Chinese restaurant # 5. This restaurant is in Kentucky, not far from my town. When I first walked in the door, I was greeted by a Chinese man who was dressed in a nice shirt and tie. He then guided me to my table where I was then greeted by a nice Chinese girl named Yuky. Then shortly after, I was greeted by a very nice Chinese girl named Ke. Then there is Fang. Fang's job is to keep the buffet full and she does a very good job of that believe me. The first thing that I noticed about the restaurant was the fact that it was very much different than any Chinese restaurant that I had ever been to before . Both Yuky and Ke interact with the American customers, they joke around and have a good time with their customers. Even though Yuky only knows about 10 words of English, she still digs in there and tries. Ke is very fluent in English, and from what I can tell, she is Yuky's mentor .Here's the difference between Yuky and Ke. Yuky has only been in the States for about 4 months where Ke has been here for about 4 years, so it's obvious that Ke is the mentor. Yuky follows Ke around like a little lost puppy dog, I guess that you would just have to see this to know how cute this
The manager's name is Lin. Lin and I always chat for at least 20 minutes each time that I eat there. We chat about Chinese and American issues. In fact, he is the only Chinese person that I've ever known who will talk about Chinese culture with me. He also admits that his business isn't very good. I would think that would be a huge loss of face for him, but then again, this place is different, these people are different. Lin and I are going to have dinner together next week, he invited me, again a first. I'm sure that this will be entertaining as well as a learning experience for both of us.
Lee is the owner. Lee only knows about 10 words of English, however he always smiles, shakes my hand and pats me on the back, again a first, this place is different, these people are different. I just love this restaurant! If it was in my town, I'd eat there every day. I'm sure that these people represent the best of Chinese culture.
Actually, after my last visit to this restaurant, both Lee and Ke did something that caused me to fall in love with these people. I now have more than enough material on this place to write an 800 word submission. I know that it won't be Thai related, however it will be one of those positive stories that many of us long for. If Stick will run it, I'll more than gladly write it up !
There is a moral to this story. Within every race of Humans, there are good and bad. Unfortunately, the way the world is today, it's sad to say that we have a much greater chance of meeting bad people. We have to filter through the bad to get to the good, and that's exactly what I experienced on my tour of Chinese restaurants. I started out with the bad, filtered through all of the muddle, and finally got to the best of Chinese culture.
I toured many Chinese restaurants on my journey, far more than I can mention here. However, can any of you guess which one were raided by ICE ? Can any of you guess which ones are involved in Human Trafficking?
Now it's Thai Restaurant Time !
This place just recently opened, however, let's rewind back to about 2 weeks ago.
I drove by to see if this place was open for business and I noticed about 10 Thai guys standing out front, so I stopped my Chevy and I asked these Thai guys if the restaurant was open.
One of the Thai guys replied " No, we just visit manager "
I said " Thank you, have a nice day ", fired up my Chevy with the tailpipes rumbling that great American heartbeat, and jammed it into first gear and started to drive away. Then as I was about to drive off, one of the Thai guys stepped in front of my car. I was thinking " what the f**k ". I don't have very much experience with Thais, but in my experiences with the local Red Necks, if one of them steps out in front of your car, you've got a potential problem on your hands.
The best options in this case are :
# 1. Run over the f**er .
# 2. Throw it into reverse hoping that another one isn't behind you. If so, maybe run him over also.
# 3. Get out and fight.( not a good choice unless you're Chuck Norris )
# 4. Go for your gun and shoot the f**er .( not a good choice either unless you want to book a room in the " Kentucky Hilton " )
# 5. Just freeze and see what happens next.
In this case, I chose option # 5. As I was sitting in my car ( with my hand on my 9 mm pistol hidden under my jacket just in case ), the Thai guy walked up and motioned for me to let my window down. Then he walked up to my car and said " my friend go ask manager, just a minute please " .
At this point, I was pretty sure that these guys were nice, so I chose to wait for him to " go ask manager ". As I was waiting, I noticed that some of the Thais were having a smoke, so for some reason, I decided to have a smoke with these guys. We all had a nice chat, a good choice on my behalf ( glad I went for option # 5 ) . Then the Thai guy who stepped out in front of my car came out of the restaurant and said " restaurant open last week in March " . I thought that was very nice of him, he didn't have to that, but he did any way, I was impressed !
Finally, the restaurant opened just when the Thai guy said that it would, but about 20 minutes after opening time ( typical Thai from what I've read on this website ) . When I walked in, I was escorted to my table and given a menu. I had never eaten Thai food before so I had no clue what to order, so an American customer recommended the " Red Curry ", so I went for it, I ordered the " Red Curry ".
Then I was served what looked and smelled like coco-nut milk soup with peppers and chicken and a side order of white rice.
Now I'm looking at all of this pepper, chicken coco- nut cluster with no clue how to eat it. My waitress told me to dump the rice into the soup. I did so, however after a couple of
spoonfuls of this cluster, there was no way in hell that I could eat this s**t ! It took at least 2 days for my digestive system to function properly ( thanks to Ex-Lax) !
Now they have a lunch buffet so that we Kentuckians can smell and sample the foods so that we'll know what to order from the menu.
The strange thing about this place is the fact that most of the employees are American. The owner is Thai and I have only counted about 4 Thais working there. I'm slowly but surely building up some rapport with the Thais, so this may also lead to a future submission in time.
Until then, Chok Dee ( good luck, learned that at the Thai restaurant )
I'm in Phuket for a few days so no comments….sorry!