Chicken or Beef?

by Tara Russell, Apr 20, 2003 | Destinations: China / Beijing

As I sat aboard the flight to Beijing, I quickly became engrossed in my book. There was a flutter of activity in the cabin, but the noise and commotion were drowned by my interest in the novel. In between chapters, I noticed that the flight attendants were beginning the food service. I was unsure what the meal would be, and being convinced that the meal would be something incredibly strange and unappealing, I dove back into my book.

Soon enough, the flight attendant was hovering over my seat. "Chee-kuhn or beef?" She sheepishly asked.

"Excuse me?" I was enjoying my book and only partially paying attention to the young girl, but tried to politely see if she would reiterate the question.

"Chee-kuhn or beef?" Again, seemingly under her breath, I could barely hear her, and it was not at all registering what the attendant was offering.

"I'm sorry. What did you say?"

"Chee-kuhn or beef?" This time with confidence and some vocal strength.

Aha, I got it. "Chicken, please."

"So sorry, no chicken. All gone. What would you like?"

I shook and lowered my head as I attempted to hide my amusement. "Never mind," I said, "I'm actually not so hungry."

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