David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

Blue Mountain Coffee

I take my seat at the Golden Grove
And watch the waitress, Xu,
She's sweet and pert, and her shortened skirt
Shows off a dimple or two;
She brings the menu, a pretty smile,
I get to the "Wo xiang yao...."
But she shakes her head, before I've said
What I want, would like, or how!

She points to the meal I didn't want,
I crease my ‘lao wai' brow,
"No no - Lan shan" is my one response,
"Lan shan kafei, niu nai..."
Do you have it? - this is a coffee shop?
All I want is a cup - that's wrong? '
She rolls her eyes, looks up to the skies
And mutters: ‘Wo bu dong! '

I check my book, have I overlooked
Some word, some phrase - a tone?
‘This is a ‘Kafei Dian? ' I say,
She brings me a chicken bone,
Immersed in water that they call soup,
I feel a sweat coming on,
I wave my hand, ‘bu xing, bu xing, '
She mutters a ‘Wo bu dong! '

Can you say ‘Yes? ' Can you say ‘No? '
She shakes her head, ‘Mei you! '
The sweat breaks out on my fevered brow,
‘Ni ting dong ma, ' I go.
She smiles so sweet, she shakes her head,
She never will understand.
"Ni lan shan kafei or not, " I cry,
She mutters ‘Ni man man kan! '

"That's it, I'm off, " I shout out loud,
‘Wo yiao zou le, " I roar,
She follows my every move as I
Make tracks for the outer door,
I pause and turn as I reach the street
To see her standing - then:
"Zai jian! ' I snort, but she smiles at me:
"Goodbye - Please come again! "

Glossary: - Wo xiang yao - I would like
Lao wai - foreigner
Lan shan - Blue Mountain Kafei - coffee
Niu nai - milk Wo bu dong - I don't understand
Kafei Dian - Coffee Shop
bu xing - you can't/don't/ do this to me
Mei you - nothing.
Ni ting dong ma - Can you understand?
Ni man man kan - take your time.
Wo yao zou le - I want to leave. Zai jian - Goodbye.

Submitted: Sunday, December 18, 2005
Edited: Monday, March 05, 2012

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