She explained to me that the place is very popular amongst young people like her - which I can understand - but I also noticed that it is popular with distinctly ethic groups of families. Chinese people were sitting there, eating Chinese food, Indians were doing the same with Indian food, etc, but I didn't notice any Mexicans in the place - you have a choice of cuisines from about 5 different countries, including fish and chips for us Brits.
I first came across this sort of restaurant in Florida, when all the workers on the building site would come back from lunch having been to an 'All you can eat for $5' joint, and were unable to move any faster than a sloth for the rest of the afternoon. Do you remember the scene where Paul Newman eats about 200 boiled eggs in a competition? Well they all looked exactly like that.
I've never been able to eat any more than an ordinary sized meal at any one sitting, so the true value of these places is wasted on me. I have heard of people (friends of her above, in the same restaurant!) who have stuffed themselves, only to go outside and throw it all up on the pavement, so have taken on no nutrition at all during the course of the night.
I had a French friend once, whose brother was a member of a select Gastronomique society, and they would meet once a year to spend about £500 each in an expensive restaurant in Paris (in 1972...). They would have one course, then go to the bathroom, stick their fingers down their throat, swill their mouths with bicarbonate of soda, then go back in for the next course. Of course, it was the taste they were after, but I still think that this sort of activity is verging on obscene when there are starving people in the world. Maybe I'm just a Puritan at heart. I still feel guilty about saying "I'm starving" when what I mean is that I am a little hungry, so I try to avoid it.
If I want to make myself feel pity for an extremely obese person (rather than simple disgust), then I imagine them being locked up and forcibly denied food. That image almost reduces me to tears.
The images that actually do reduce me to tears are ones of children crying through hunger, of the sort that Bob Geldoff put on our screens all those years ago one Christmas. Nobody should have to feel guilt about feeding themselves, and the sooner they make it an international crime to speculate on basic foodstuffs as a commodity, the better, in my opinion.