I might as well start with the cliche question I’ve been asked several times in the last week – “If you knew when you got married that 11 years later you’d be living in Hong Kong ….” – no need to finish the question and I won’t be giving a controversial answer! Never mind 11 years ago, if anyone had told me one year ago when we were in Lake Como celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary that a year later we’d be living in Hong Kong I’d have definitely done a runner! (joke, Dan, joke).
So, to mark 11 years of wedded bliss, Dan booked a surprise dinner at The Peninsula Hotel, one of the finest hotels in the world (so they boast on their website). Dan was delighted with himself at the choice and as he skipped up the stairs of the hotel declaring that that’s another James Bond film location ticked off his list, I realised why!
There are no less than 10 choices for dining at The Pensinsula and Dan had booked ‘Chesa’, a Swiss restaurant. I can’t deny it felt a bit random tucking in to cheese fondue in the heart of Hong Kong but the meal was delicious and the restaurant was cosy and romantic – Dan had done his job!
However, things took an unexpected turn when dessert arrived. I had ordered an amazing creme brulee and an extraordinarily complicated hot chocolate, both of which were first class. I can’t remember the exact name of what Dan ordered but it was basically a whole orange in orange jelly with orange ice cream, served in a bowl that was sat in another bowl of dry ice that was billowing out everywhere and had a real ‘wow’ factor. It certainly got everyone in the restaurant staring at us!
Once the dry ice had subsided and Dan had eaten the orange, jelly and ice cream we could see that left behind in the bowl where the dry ice had been was fresh orange juice. It smelled delicious, still had a few bits of the dry ice crystals floating about but Dan drank the lot. I had a sip and it was indeed as delicious as it smelled.
However, when the waiter came to collect our dishes, he looked at the empty bowl of orange juice and said to Dan, “You ate that?” Dan obviously said, “Er, yes, it’s orange juice, was I not supposed to?” The waiter looked so shocked and told Dan that dry ice is not for eating and were we not told that by the waiter who served it to him? Well, no we were clearly not told this otherwise he wouldn’t have drunk it, idiot! So obviously Dan whips his phone out and Googles ‘What happens if I eat dry ice?’ That was a mistake! What we found essentially told us that if you swallow dry ice, the outcome could be very bad and could be a death sentence depending on the quantity. I am seriously not exaggerating, that’s what it said! Dan was properly panicking and I was a bit worried too although I’d only had a sip, Dan had downed the lot!
Then the maitre d’ came to our table apologising profusely that we hadn’t been told not to drink the contents of the bowl. We kept saying, “But it was fresh orange juice, why would you put it there if it’s not for eating?!” We just wanted to pay quickly and leave now that the meal had ended in panic and knowing that all the staff were probably laughing hysterically at us and I think Dan wanted to go and die in private somewhere, not in the middle of a fondue restaurant. This was not panning out like a James Bond movie. The waiter did say that a few people had done this before and he had never heard back with any problems which was a bit reassuring but he’s never dealt with me before. I have a Customer Service background, I know how to complain and The Peninsula hasn’t heard the last of us!
I’m actually writing this a week on, Dan is clearly fine, no one has died, not even a hospital admission, just rather a lot of gas that night as the carbon dioxide from the dry ice was released in our stomachs! This was one symptom that the google article promised us that did come true! Just what every couple wants on their wedding anniversary!
Obviously our compensation from The Peninsula won’t be anything like it could have been in the worst case scenario but believe me, I’m cooking up a corker of an email to the Hotel Manager, this will be my summer project, let’s see how far I can run with it…