Tag Archives: 德国餐厅

My Journey to the West

Marmoset!    Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Jintan is not India, and I am not the Monkey King. Although, some people will think of my rampant ADHD and know I possess the attention span of a monkey. On a hot spring day, I might sweat enough to smell like a monkey, baboon, or a gorilla — but definitely not marmosets. They are too small, and they have white skull mullets. I would look absurd with a skull mullet.

But, I digress. I went to Jintan to look for Zapfler’s, a German restaurant which brews its own beer. I had went looking for it once before, but this time I thought I had a solid lead. I had found its website.  However, my blundering around and Chinese map reading errors were epic. (Hence the “Journey to the West” reference. Jintan is Changzhou’s most western district.)

First, I was stupid enough to wear a hoody, and I realized it was a hot spring day. Sweat ran down my face. Eventually, I pulled the hoody off and tied it around my waist, much the same way grunge rockers did in the 1990’s. But they did that with flannel shirts. I cooled down a little, but I continued to sweat. Especially since I ended up walking around for essentially three hours nonstop.

My next error involved not eating breakfast or buying any water. I thought I was going to have a nice, big German lunch with a lager. So, I was incredibly thirsty and sweating, which led to dehydration.

In terms of navigating Jintan, I mistook 金沙园 Jinsha Park for Dongmendajie  东门大街 — which is the shopping center of the district. Think of it as Jintan’s Nandajie. I walked around every floor of every shopping area. Entering the Chinese for “German Restaurant” into Baidu Maps didn’t help. Eventually, I gave up and texted my friend from this area. Given how stubborn I can be in refusing help, that says a lot.

IMG_20160501_210050
A one-armed kung fu master.

He told me I should have been entering the Chinese characters for  “German Beer.” I did the whole facepalm thing, wondering why I didn’t think of that.  Within a minute, he sent me a screen shot from his phone’s map. Now, would this be the end of my blundering? No.

Jintan has a lot of parks clustered together. Instead of simply buying water, I thought, “No, you will find this restaurant in five minutes, and you drink water with lunch.” So, I tried cutting through the parks — only to get distracted by a series of states with missing arms.  Eventually, I walked around Jinsha park for an hour, and I didn’t find Zapfler’s. I was about to give up and return to the coach station, defeated. And, of course, that’s when I finally found it.

Did I get to have yummy German food, lots of cold water, and beer? No, they were closed. The Chinese waitstaff were sitting outside. So, imagine their facial expressions when a six foot two sweaty American — with a hoody tied around his waist — showed up. I hadn’t shaven in two days. Even though I didn’t look like a marmoset with a skullet, I probably smelled like one — contrary to my earlier position on the matter. They were very, very generous to me. I am extremely grateful for that. They let me drink a couple of glasses of water, and they even called a taxi for me. I was in no mood to walk back to the bus station. Most importantly, I left with a business card.

So, learn from my mistakes. If you are looking for Zapfler’s for the first time, either go somebody who knows or just take a cab there.

Zapfler's
Zapfler’s aka the end of my silly quest.