rambling again

September 21st, 2007

First up: Some food for thought.

Now on to the rambling:

I was only planning on ducking into the office to check what time my Monday class was. Because with this teacher from Oz is here for these three teaching weeks, my schedule is all up the wop, so I have to constantly make sure what time I need to be at school the next teaching day. But no, colleagues t and k were there, and it was decided I would take them to my favourite neighbourhood restaurant for lunch.

See, when I first arrived at BeiGongDa nearly five years ago now (and it’s been about that long since I last set foot in New Zealand) I had to quickly re-establish myself in a part of Beijing I wasn’t overly familiar with. Sure, I knew the Panjiayuan market only one or two k’s to the west, but nobody comes over to this corner of Beijing without a good, local reason. And I was taken by two Chinese colleagues (one of whom is still my best friend in this part of the world, and up there with the best of my best friends in any part of the world, gk)  to the Shuanglong Nanli branch of the Jingkelong supermarket. And I somehow noticed on that first (amazingly jetlagged) day in this corner of Beijing that just to the south of Jingkelong on that last southernmost stretch of Xidawang Lu was what looked like at least one restaurant. And so that first night back in Beijing, that first night in this small but excellent corner of Beijing, I went down there to find out what could be eaten in this part of the world. And for the last nearly five years I’ve been going back to that same restaurant every chance and/or excuse I get. It’s changed a lot in that time. It’s changed staff. It’s changed interior decoration. It’s changed menus. It even seems to have changed management two or three times these five years. But it’s always been cheap and good. I introduced lzh to this restaurant soon after we met and she immediately fell in love with the place (and their Gongbao Jiding, which is one of her all-time favourite dishes) and so she is always happy to join me in a trip back to our favourite little restaurant.

And now I will stop the hagiography, not least because an icon with a restaurant in it would look very strange indeed.

So I took colleagues t and k there for lunch, and the food was as good as it always has been. Did I mention I like that restaurant? Did I mention why I like it? Anyway, k had to run off early, but t and I sat there chatting until the staff had almost finished their lunch. That’s how comfortable it is there.

I really was just planning to stop in the office and check my timetable then run off to the supermarket. After all, this trip to the supermarket has been delayed too long as it is. I’m running low on yoghurt, we’ve had no milk for days now (both are an essential part of my breakfast routine, less essential for lzh though), and there’s only so long I could use that last razor blade before it took my entire face off. It’s one thing defacing statues back during the Reformation, it’s a whole other thing defacing yourself mere days before you have to be back in the classroom. And besides, I needed tea. Tea is my One Big Addiction. I NEEDed tea.

So I went in to Jingkelong, went upstairs where razor blades and tea are, and…

bastards stole my teashop!!!!!!

The old teashop that was in Jingkelong was gone. Emptied out. The signs were all still there, but the shelves were empty, and the floor filled with cartons of cheap beer. So I shed a tear and swore off my frustration and wandered downstairs for the other things I needed. I bumped into t again, who had also stopped in Jingkelong on the way home, but for entirely different reasons that necessitated a parting of ways. He said, oh, I think they shifted the teashop over that way. I looked over that way and I saw what had been the booze shop next to the teashop upstairs, but couldn’t see any tea. I walked over, though, hoping against hope that the teashop had just shifted downstairs, and…..

…..relief. Sweet, blessed relief. There was my teashop, hidden in a little nook between the booze shop and the checkouts. I have an adequate supply of tea again. All is good with the world. Or at least, all is good with my little corner of the world.

The booze shop, by the way, I never bothered with. They only ever stocked over-priced baijiu and the kinds of foreign booze that appeal to pretentious, nouveau riche manbags trying to build face with their pretentious, nouveau riche manbag friends. They never stocked anything worth drinking, in other words.

Oh, and we got our box of mooncakes each, gift from the school for Mid-Autumn Festival (the 25th, next Tuesday I believe). I don’t think I’ve ever bought mooncakes in my life, not even after I acquired Chinese family and therefore actually needed mooncakes. lzh and I have always just relied on the school to give us a box each year, and then we’ve taken that up to the village to be consumed.

Oh, and one more thing worth reading.

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