Asking for Water in China

I gave the Europeans a hard time over the summer for their assault on h2o.

China is worse.

First, you can’t drink from the tap. A pain.

Second, asking for water in a restaurant is too challenging. I ate at Steak King across the street from my apt in Shanghai two days in a row. Same waitress. On the first day I asked for water, and pointed to “water” on the menu (which had the corresponding Chinese characters below the English phrase). It cost 4 yuan so I assumed it’d be mineral water or something.

She brought me a mug of boiling hot water. No tea, no flavor, just hot water. Might I ask what anyone would do with a cup of boiling hot water? I told the waitress, No, I want cold water. She didn’t understand. I said, “Ice”. She brought me back the SAME MUG except with ice cubes in it. Now I had a cup of boiling hot water with ice cubes. Two counteracting forces fighting vigorously for what they believe in. 10 minutes later the ice won and I drank lukewarm water.

The next day I went through the same routine with the same waitress. Only this time i made it clear when ordering, “COLD water. ICE!” She nodded. She brought me a mug of boiling hot water. I sent it back. I said, “ICE”. She brought it back boiling water w/ ice cubes.

I know I’m doing something wrong…when Eisen ordered for me I got a tall glass of cold, iced water. Not boiling water. Maybe I should ask for boiling, hot water?

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