Matthew was in Hong Kong for a couple of weeks this summer visiting his cousin, Aaron, who works in the garment industry there – I think. Aaron studied Chinese in college and has been living and working in various Mainland cities and Hong Kong for years now, and was nice enough to host Matt. Matt has been interested in Asian culture for quite some time, so this trip was very special to him.
Before he left I gave him a credit card and told him to treat Aaron and his girlfriend to a really nice meal. On our semi-daily Skype chats, I would inquire about the dinner. “So, did you guys go out for that dinner on me yet?” “No, but we will.” A few days before he was to return, Matt starts regaling us about the meal, which finally took place, going on and on about a lobster “half as long as me” and razor clams and geoduck. Geoduck! Good God, how much did that meal cost?, thought we four. The list went on – this and that seafood item prepared in this or that style. Our fear about the cost was justified given Matt’s history of not skimping on quality when it comes to food. Not that he’s a spendthrift, but Matthew, like many people his age who grew up in relative ease, doesn’t think twice about spending money on himself. Then you have the exchange rate, which makes it all somewhat surreal, allowing a person to claim ignorance of the actual cost later on.
While I honestly didn’t really care a whole lot about the price of the meal (Matt is fruit to my poisonous tree) we had a good time trying to calculate a worst-case scenario while laughing our asses off. Turns out the meal was something on the order of $400, which was a good price when you think of what they ate.