11.17.2012

Saturday Morning

We got a whole big, fat, world to see
Nothings ever gonna happen round here
If we don't make it happen
Sleep away the day if you want to
But I got something that I gotta do
Its Saturday Morning
-The Eels


I have given up many habits and comforts I had in California. Shopping at Anthropologie.com is replaced with haggling at a clothes market. Goodbye Paul Mitchell Extra Body Hair Conditioner and hello Vidal Sassoon 润发乳 purchased from the Beijing Walmart. My flatscreen television sits in silence in my parent’s basement while I stream movies with Chinese captions to my laptop. Tacos are a delicacy (if we can find them) and no longer a quick and easy meal. Instead of Peet’s coffee, I am happy to purchase a cup of instant coffee from KFC.

But on Saturday mornings, we escape China and enter America—uh, I mean, Starbucks. We hear English conversation just above the gentle hum of milk being steamed. We let the sweet aromas of Latin coffee beans intoxicate us while we unconsciously hum to cathartic tunes. After the coffee sufficiently rejuvenates us and we leave to start the day’s activities, we use the bathroom equipped with western-style toilets, toilet paper, and hand soap. Also, since the smoking ban seems to be enforced inside the Starbucks, my lungs suffer no pollution. And the coffee! A strong, pungent punch to my senses. Just like home.

And just like home, Starbucks reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner. The rest of China doesn’t care about Christmas, but Starbucks has decorated its windows with evergreen flora, introduced the Cranberry Bliss Bar for the season, and played “Winter Wonderland”. I had nearly forgotten that December is almost here.

Also just like home, Starbucks coffee is a splurge event. A venti sized coffee sets us back 23 RMB. For comparison, I buy a week’s worth of vegetables, tofu, and eggs for less than 20 RMB.

Chinese Word of the Blog: 星巴克 xīng bā kè (the first character literally means star. The last two characters sounds like “buck”)
English translation: Starbucks