Having been in the desert of Chinese species for 1.5 months, figured that I should start looking for one of my kind.
The plan was to go to the ‘Centro Cultural Colombo-Chino’ to find out about other Chinese in the city, what’s going on and the channel through which I can ‘reach out’..
So as I loitered up and down the streets, I came across 2 Chinese faces, who were trying to take a picture of a restaurant. Typical Chinese, weren’t they? Even if you didn’t recognise Chinese physiognomy, you wouldn’t miss them from their behavior, the way they dressed and their body language. Unfortunately, because I was warned on maybe 10 occasions not to speak with strangers in this city, I did not go up to verify my hypothesis.
I kept walking, and then the two men I came across earlier surpassed me, and entered into a suspicious-looking (but nice) house, behind a tall gate, with a guard in front. At this point I knew that they were really Chinese, because I heard them. And then coming out from the house at the same time were other Chinese girls! I thought I had found the Chinese embassy or some kind of government institute from China! The only puzzle was that there was not a single flag to be seen..
Getting excited at the possibility of a major encounter with my ethnic species in the far-away land, I decided to ask the guard (the following was conducted in Spanish), ‘What’s this place?’
‘A private restaurant.’
That puzzled me even more. A Chinese private kitchen in Bogota! How lush! And all the Chinese in the city seemed to have congregated here for lunch?!
‘What’s the name of the restaurant?’
What?! The first image that I had was Kungfu Panda, with Master Wugui’s and panda’s faces in my head.. I frowned. I couldn’t accept the answer..
More Chinese approached (maybe 7 – and that’s a big number here!). The guard checked all their name badges and gestured at the last person. I asked him if he spoke Chinese.
‘What’s this place?’
And displaying the same level of suspicion as any other Chinese would have done if got asked this question (I have come across that many times in China before), ‘What business do you have?’
‘I just wanted to know the name of this restaurant.’
‘Where are you from?’
‘From HK, I got here 1 month ago..’
‘This is the company canteen.’
‘Which company’s canteen is this?’
That made sense in the end. ‘Wugui’ = Huawei in Colombia. You would need a lot of imagination to work that out..