STUMBLED INTO a bit of barya* recently after late adjustments to guild exam-pay rises (up 11 cents to 59 cents an hour for successful candidates, those cents add up if you keep an eye on those pennies 🙂 ), a retroactive pay rise and corrections based on a new wage schedule, retroactive as well.
Before you ask for balato**, it’s been spent all of it, took care of an advance made by Bunso & Ganda’s mom, and tried to make a small dent on the obligations incurred the last trip home. But because I owed a few favors to both esposa hermosa who’d been working like a(n attractive, female) horse the last few days, and to SuperBisor who helped in agitating for the pay rise, it would’ve been poor form for me to not even suggest a small Chinese dinner treat in the popular nearby bar-and-resto district in Petone. To which they said yes, of course, despite the short notice.
I think I’ve told you more than once that though I’m no stranger to vice, drinking like a fish is not one of them, but I thought that the company and occasion were enough reason to justify even one tiny bottle of beer, never mind if the mood happened to ask for seconds just in case.
The waiter, who unsurprisingly was Chinese, took our orders rather haughtily, but even with his curt manner what he said was jolting : instead of taking a request for a bottle of local beer, he replied we don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the door.
I don’t know if he was referring with his “glancing” gesture to a table of Kiwis who brought their own rather generous baon of wine or a sign near the door that said B.Y.O.W. (“bring your own wine”).
So that‘s what that sign meant; I always wanted to know what it was trying to say.
Almost immediately I got discouraged; not only was there a BYOW fee of $3, you also had to buy outside, preferably very soon as the food was coming.
I needed not only to loosen my tongue and unwind, I also had to find takeaway beer in a hurry.
*** ** ** ** ***
SuperBisor thought he saw a dairy (small grocery) a couple of blocks down the street, I also sighted quite a few bars before entering the Chinese resto. Surely with all these choices I could sate my thirst?
The small grocery was the first “x” on my list. No license to sell alcohol, the South Asian proprietor said. Lotto or cigarets maybe? No thanks as I scooted out. The beers on the bars weren’t very inviting, price-wise. And how would I look carrying a glass of takeaway beer outside the bar? Pretty lame, and I’d look mighty similar to an alcoholic for sure. Obviously I hadn’t thought this out.
I returned to an amused SuperBisor and his girlfriend who were a bit sympathetic to my beerless search. Mahal was not so sympathetic : ibig sabihin nyan wag ka nang uminom, mamaya ka na lang bumili. It’s a sign for you to drop the beer idea, amigo. Maybe later.
Thankfully, the dinner was sumptuous, and everyone was happy.
Later on while settling the bill, I tried my primary-school Mandarin on the waiter, who was also the cashier (probably one of the owners as well) : his manner improved dramatically and in so many words this was what he answered to my question regarding their failure to serve alcoholic beverages :
Eating establishments may have one of two licenses regarding liquor. You may either have a BYOW license (heard about that one already) or sell liquor. It’s easier to maintain a BYOW license, and besides we need training and a “responsible” person for the second kind of license.
He actually told me (and didn’t I deserve it?), in his charmingly abrasive way : Next time, bring your own beer? No, please, ifs, and buts about it.
Sure I will ! If ever, that is, I get the munchies for, and can afford, crispy duck again.
Thanks for reading !
*loose change **treat, “blow-out”, lunch/dinner on me