As the note I wrote recently about Xi’an’s Top 5 coffee shops will be in the Xianease Magazine this month, I feel I owe Nono Café an apology, of sorts, for not including it. We’ll see how we go. ||
Oh Nono’s! You did always treat us so well, from that opening night abundance of free drinks and pastries, espresso coffee and great herbal teas, to those famous free salads that lasted so long, creating so much more than simply a satisfied throng.
Months going by as we loaded our bowls to the brim, you happily taking the cost on the chin. But, most importantly, you created an environment conducive to the passing of hours in heated debate or working on characters until it got really quite late.
You drew the crowds too: particularly those elegant lovelies of Xi’an’s nouveau riche, quite a pleasant little niche, if I say so my self. Where boutique fashions and long legs abounded, leaving most laowai sitting happily astounded. Not many back then would not agree, that Nono’s Café was the place to be.
But then, that fiend named Starbucks arrived in town and buoyed by a sense of its own global brand, it felt it could charge prices so astronomical in relation to the life in this land, that shop assistants wishing to place just one cup in their hand, would have to complete a 5 hour shift, any complaints, just met with short shrift.
Oh Nono’s! You must just have felt your own elite custom, for all intents and purposes your last bastion, would have been unable to find any sense of glee, in thinking they were drinking second-rate tea. And thus overnight you raised your prices to match, therein, lying the catch. When the value of a product is not clear, the way to choose, it seems, is which is most dear. I still remember the day of that 50% soar, in cost, that left me wandering the streets of Xi’an, feeling quite lost.
Could it really have been true that Nono’s had turned to a place we well knew. From that point onward I was done with you, even doing things I thought I would never do. But time has now past and as is always the case, the healing of time’s passage stands in its place.
And so does the context that effects the situation, as we’re all now everywhere stalked by rapidly rising Chinese inflation. You are both no longer alone in your astronomically high prices, maybe a consequence of this world economic crisis. But, whatever it is, it is all just the same. So, how can I continue to apportion such a bitter blame.
An analogy to draw, where actions are now being seen as the final straw, is with that other dark art industry that has lost any sense of responsibility. The production it had wished to pursue, is, at present, painting our oceans with a less than turquoise hue. The seas now reminiscent of a rancid stew, not a comparison I find pleasant to chew, over.
Now, if I was to have some reincarnational wish, I would choose to return as a fish: though, not one simply prepared to land on your dish, but one with the ability to tell us, the life we have chosen is pish:
“All is seemingly lost, when production and profit are placed above cost; the social, ecological and cultural kinds are the ones you should be keeping in mind. It is not just the oil companies highlighting this risk, when setting their compasses a little askew with their wild-eyed focus on revenue. Ignoring the unpleasant residue, left from pursuing the satisfaction of demand without the effects of any satisfactory threat of reprimand, is a recipe for disaster, in more contexts than one.”
So, Nono’s, I am back with you now: as when I look around at the incredible degree in which price outstrips reality, I simply accept my fate of being judged at the Lord’s dark, ephemeral gate. Though, if I continue to drink coffee at this rate, I’ll probably find I have not long to wait. So, I will just sit comfortably in coffee induced bliss, surrounded by Xi’an’s nouveau riche, and enjoying opportunities I’ve no wish to miss.
The rest… does it really exist?