You know who I am…or so you think you do. I’m the gal who always carries a cup of coffee wherever I go. In fact, my addiction is akin to that of a streetwise heroin junkie…only chubbier. That first jolt of java doesn’t wake me up, it just gets me primed for my real goal: the second cup.
I was once involved in this crazy exercise craze where I tried to put my health first for once. I did everything my lean and gorgeous coach recommended.
Situps and pushups at the butt crack of dawn? Check.
Jogging at 5:00 a.m.? No problem.Cutting back on sugar and sweets? A less enthusiastic, but still present commitment.
Then came the final straw: give up coffee.
Me: “Excuse me? Did you say give up toffee? No worries…haven’t touched the stuff since last Christmas. You can count on me, Coach.”
Coach: “You heard me. I said no more coffee.”
Me: “I’m sorry, must be the earwax. Did you say give up being bossy? Well, anything’s possible, I guess. But understand, I’ve been bossy for a really long time, possibly since my exit from the birth canal when I tried to tell the nurse how to do her job,” I rambled nervously.
Coach: “COF-FEE. You have to give up coffee! For Pete’s sake…”
And the gauntlet was thrown.
Me: Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. I’d sooner give up my car and my bachelor’s degree and my prescription medication. And, trust me, ain’t nobody gonna want THAT to happen.
But sadly, there wasn’t a discount club to turn to last May when I spent 3 weeks in Shanghai. I was told there would be coffee. No, that’s not the first question I asked when the idea surfaced. I think the very first question was “Do I have to get a bunch of shots?” We were even promised that coffee was brewed in the dorm we were staying in. I don’t really count the coffee machine, circa 1978, as fresh-brewed, but you know what? I drank it and I’d do it again. I’m not proud of it, but you have to ask yourself what you would do in this situation.
Yes, they have a Starbucks in Shanghai. But you have to take a bus filled to the gills with sweaty students to get there, and they sadly close at 9:00 p.m.
Finally, about a week in, I found a little restaurant that, bless its little heart, was really attempting to serve “American” food. I’m not sure what the Shanghaiese (not sure that’s a word but go with it man) think of when they conjure up images of American food, but let me tell you, this was NOT it. I’m not even sure if the pasta was made of flour. It tasted something LIKE flour, only less floury. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t lived in the Far East. Anyway, I saw on the menu, “coffee” and decided to try it…I DID NOT GET MY HOPES UP.
You know what? It wasn’t bad. It was pretty good, especially next to my vending machine standards.
It was this day that changed my luck, because before the trip was over, I was sitting at High Tea on the 28th floor with two lovely ladies, Anita and Lynn, at the Renaissance Hotel drinking THIS:
I knew the coffee gods smiled upon me that day.
Where do you think the best cup of coffee is served? Vote here in the comments block.