I was in the lunch room at work the other day and some people were talking about seafood… so I started telling this story from long ago… and I realized that I had never told it here. NaBloPoMo seems the perfect time to rectify that situation…
There are a few things you can be sure to find here in Prince Edward Island in the summer… one is the Island’s famous cultured mussels, and the other is Japanese tourists. This story has both.
It was about 20 years ago, and my younger self had a couple of jobs, one of which was working the front desk of a lovely local inn. The inn was very popular with Japanese tourists, and most typically young Japanese girls who would come to experience the Land of Anne. The Inn was very reminiscent of Anne’s time, so I’m sure that was part of the draw.
This particular sunny afternoon a large group of Japanese men came clammering in the front door and flopped themselves in the chairs at the front desk. They had obviously spent a busy day sightseeing and were tired. It was the first time I had ever served a group of male Japanese visitors. The guest with the best English approached the desk. He was obviously the designated speaker for the group.
Me: Did you have a nice time?
Guest: A leely nice time. You got muzzooos?
Me: Of course we have mussels! I’d be happy to get them for you. Would you like them in the dining room, or up in your room?
The guest paused. I pointed to the dining room. Then I pointed to the room. Guest smiled.
Guest: In the room! The room! And up the stairs he went.
One by one each man ordered and went up the stairs to their room.
So I went in the kitchen and placed my order for all those mussels, and when they were ready I loaded a tray and headed up the stairs to the guest accommodations. I knocked and Guest answered. They were all in the room in various states of attire. I passed them the tray and made way back to the desk.
After some time, Guest came down the stairs and approached the desk.
Guest: Ummm… The shells….. Are they included?
Me: Well yes, you take the shellfish out of the shell, then put the shell in the bucket. I used charades to demonstrate.
Guest: So the shells are included?
Me: Well… yes.
Guest nodded that he understood and back up the stairs he went. Again some time passed and Guest again comes down the stairs and stood before the desk.
Guest: You got muzzooos?
Me: I brought you mussels.
Guest: Muzzooos? It’s his turn for charades. He starts rubbing his shoulders.
It was a sickening moment of realization. I think my blood rushed to my toes. He was asking for a masseuse. And I had offered to fill his order in the dining room for crying out loud. Chances are he had never even heard of our famous mussels before that day.
Guest: You muzzoos?
True story. The mussels were on the house. That was fun explaining to the guys in the kitchen.