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德州,圣安东尼奥:免费的晚餐 San Antonio, Texas: A Free Dinner

estella  11-07-12 12:35

Language:中文 pin yin English

       圣安东尼奥,美国南部德克萨斯州的州府,中国人更了解的可能是坐落在德州东部的休斯顿城。
San Antonio, a major city in Texas, is perhaps not as well known among Chinese as Houston to the east.
我们住的旅馆 Our hotel
       德州紧邻墨西哥,刚住进旅馆就领略了它的风情。
       前台服务员办完入住手续,发给我们房卡时特别告知当晚7-8点钟在旅馆餐厅有免费的晚餐我们有点莫名其妙,还以为是没听明白,但既是免费的就还是不拒绝的好。

Texas is bordered to the south by Mexico, and right when we entered the hotel, we could sense the distinct local culture.

After the receptionist checked us in and handed us our keys, we were informed that free dinner would be offered in the dining hall that evening from 7 to 8.  We were taken aback for a moment, thinking that perhaps we had misheard, but seeing as dinner was free, we could hardly refuse.

       晚上七点十分左右,我们一走出房间,远远的就从餐厅方向传来音乐之声。来到餐厅,只见一位身着民族服装的女子,正随着放在地上的简易音响所播出的音乐富有激情地跳着,旁边还站立着数位显然是和舞者一起的、年龄不一的青年男女。几张餐桌周围各围着客人,津津有味地边吃边欣赏着那女子的舞蹈。

At around ten past seven, we came out of our room to hear sounds of music coming from the direction of the dining hall.  Entering the hall, we were greeted by the sight of a women in folk costume dancing passionately to the music playing from a simple stereo on the floor.  Nearby were a number of young men and women of various ages who were obviously there together with the dancer.  Other guests were seated around their tables, eating with relish while enjoying the woman's dance.

       我们也毫不客气地自取了些食物在一张空桌周围坐下。D是在美国工作多年的大学老师,他说在美国住过很多旅店,他也是第一次碰到这样的事。所提供的食品有:煮得很烂的豆子,带汤汁的肉,玉米做的有些像蛋糕的甜食,还有啤酒。开始我还以为那肉是牛肉做的,吃到后来,同来的老师才说那是火鸡肉。尽管食物品种不多,但边吃还边有伴舞的,也算是别有风味了。
Without standing on ceremony, we grabbed some food and took our seats at an empty table.  D, a professor who has taught in America for many years, said he had stayed in many hotels in the States and never before had he run across anything like this.  There were boiled beans, meat with gravy, some cakelike sweets made from corn, and beer.  At first we thought the meat was beef, but after we began eating, the teacher accompanying us explained that it was turkey.  Although there wasn't a big selection of food, with the accompanying entertainment, it was a unique experience.
       在我们各自取了些食物坐下来之后,舞蹈者已经换成了两个十岁左右的女孩,她们穿着长裙,两只手各提裙摆一边,像蝴蝶一样舞动,脚下跟随着节奏感很强的音乐,似乎在跳踢踏舞。再换上来的舞蹈者虽年龄不一,但舞蹈风格一致。每一个舞蹈都获得在座者的鼓掌喝彩。我们边吃边看边猜,想着这顿带表演的免费晚餐的来由,看表演者的年龄,很像是个大家庭,为了庆祝家庭的什么重大事件,所以为酒店里的客人提供了免费晚餐邀大家同乐?但是他们个个舞蹈技艺娴熟,包括孩子,都不像是业余的;或许是这个家庭舞蹈团为了能让年轻的表演者积累表演经验,把表演场地设在了旅馆餐厅里,自掏腰包给旅馆的客人免费晚餐,让大家捧场?但是这一餐厅人三五十人,一顿晚餐得费用也不少,这种“培训”方式未免奢侈了⋯⋯
After we sat down with our food, two girls around ten years of age took the stage.  They wore long skirts which they held and swished at their sides like butterfly wings, while their feet followed the strong rhythm of the music, like tap dancing.  The next change of dancers were of differing ages, but they all danced in the same style, earning the cheers and applause of the audience.  As we ate and watched, we tried to guess at the reason for this free dinner and performance.  Judging by the age of the performers, they looked like they might be one big family – perhaps in order to celebrate some big family event, they decided to treat all of the hotel guests to dinner to rejoice with them?  But each one of them was such a skilled dancer, even the children, that they didn't look like amateurs.  Perhaps they were a family troupe, and in order to gain performance experience in front of an audience, they decided to set their stage in the dining hall of a hotel, and paid for hotel guests to come support the dance troupe out of their own pockets?  But as there were thirty to fifty people in the dining hall, and a dinner for all these people could not be cheap, this would certainly be an extravagant way just to get some "training"…
       最终我们也没猜到一个满意的答案。不过,身处这大洋另一岸的美国,作为异乡人的我们,猜不出真正答案也是情理中的事。反正吃晚餐、看表演,一切免费,我们也乐得享受来到圣安东尼奥的第一顿晚餐——有演出的免费晚餐。

We never did figure out an explanation that satisfied us, but as outsiders in America, this country on the other side of the great ocean, it was only natural that we were unable to guess correctly.  At any rate, it didn't cost us anything, and were only too happy to be eating our first dinner in San Antonio, performance included, all for free.

"River Walk"

       吃罢晚餐已是当地时间晚上八点多钟了,我们决定到街上看看。
      出旅馆没走多远就是down town,所谓的市中心了。街上冷冷清清,几乎看不到什么人。D老师边走便介绍说这里最著名的有两个地方,一个是西班牙人留下的遗迹,另一个是“river walk”。听到这个音,我一时没能明白,还以为也是什么建筑的场所。走了一会儿,来到一座铁桥边,桥的一头看到有向下的阶梯,天已很黑,又没有多少灯光,看不清是何所在。沿阶梯而下,没几步就来到河边,河大约有五六米宽,沿河两边都有约两米宽的路。顺路走去,河水摇曳着反射出两岸房屋的灯光。渐走渐亮,人也越来越多,河两岸的房屋几乎都是酒吧和餐馆,简直可以说就是“酒吧一条河”。一排遮阳伞插在河边,伞下的桌子周围都坐着人,大多数人不是吃饭而是在聊天,桌上只摆着一瓶啤酒或是一杯冰水之类的饮料。似乎城中的大部分人都集中到这河边来了,难怪在地面的街道上见不到几个人。河上时或有一种平头的游船驶过,游客都坐在船中,只有一人站在船的后部操控着船,看样子是驾驶员兼导游。有些船上摆放有桌子,桌子上点着蜡烛并放有食品饮料等,坐在船上的游客随船的移动,边吃边欣赏两岸的景色。其实岸上的人又何尝不是把游船也当成景色呢。

After finishing our meal, it was already after eight o'clock local time, and we decided to take a look around outside.  Leaving the hotel, we didn’t have to walk far to get downtown.  The streets were deserted, with hardly a person in sight.  As we walked, our teacher told us of the two most famous spots here.  One were historical sites left by the Spanish, while the other was a "river walk."  For a moment, we were confused by this word, thinking it might be the location of some architectural monument.  After walking further, we came to the side of an iron bridge, from which we could see a set of steps going down.  It was already dark, and without many lights around we were unable to see where it led.  We followed the teacher down the steps, and quickly came to the side of a river, roughly five or six hundred meters across, with paths about two meters wide running along either side.  As we walked along the path, the lights from houses on both shores flickered on the surface of the river.  The lights became gradually brighter as we walked, and there were more and more people as well, until the buildings on the banks became almost entirely bars and restaurants.  Rows of sun umbrellas stood by the river, covering tables seated full of people, who were mostly not eating, but rather chatting over a glass of beer or other cold drinks.  It seemed as though almost everyone in the city had gathered here by the river; no wonder the streets had seemed so deserted.  On the river, flat cruise boats would occasionally pass by seated with tourists, steered by a single person in the aft, serving simultaneously as tour guide and captain.  On some boats, decked with tables set with candles, food and drinks, people sat and ate while enjoying the sights on the banks.  But to the people on the banks, the boats, too, were a sight of their own.

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Edit on11-07-12 13:33

1Floor
11-07-13 09:57
这里的生活一定很恬静很舒适