I thought it was a miracle when I found a Spanish tapas restaurant in Taipei. I couldn’t wait for croquettas, patatas bravas, and Spanish wine. I arrived solo for dinner, anxious to eat. I sat at the bar, opened the menu, and scrunched up my nose in disgust. I hardly recognized any of the food! It definitely was not authentic Spanish cuisine. I resorted to ordering a veggie sandwich with Gorgonzola cheese and a half pint of French wine.
While I waited for my meal, I noticed the words Dice game, 50 NT written on the chalkboard behind the bar. “What’s that?” I asked the female bartender.
“Pay and roll dice. If all five are same number you win jackpot!” she said in a cute Taiwanese accent. “If four are same, you get free drink.”
“OK, I’ll try,” I replied.
I played twice and didn’t win. Since I was alone, I asked the bartender her name to make conversation.
“Bobo,” she said with a big smile. At first I thought I misheard her.
“Bobo?” I asked, thinking of Bobo the Clown and almost laughing.
“Yes! Do you like name?” She looked at me very innocently and childlike, and I realized she had no idea what that name represented in America.
“Um. Yeah…it’s nice,” I responded slowly. I couldn’t tell her why it was funny, as I thought it would have hurt her feelings.
Later I returned to the bar. As soon as Bobo saw me, her eyes lit up in excitement. After giving me a drink she said, “I want to paint your nails!”
Ten minutes later I had alternating blue and purple nails...