Attack Goose

I managed to pick up bed linens for the other bedrooms before the rest of our little apartment family arrived. With the help of two friendly staff, I found the right size, although it took some convincing on my part to get them to find colors that were not bright pink, purple, or horrible polka dots and flowers. I had to explain to the women that the sheets were for a boy, not for me, and only then did they unearth a plain blue striped pattern. Don’t you just love gender roles?

I also was witness to a great sight. As I was coming back from a trip to a salon in Sanlitun, right down my street, was a little boy walking a goose down the sidewalk that was bigger than him. It was almost bigger than me, and I was a little bit intimidated. He had this gleam in his eye like he knew he was a treasured family friend, and not destined for dinner, strutting down the sidewalk like he owned it. I can’t decide if it would have been more ridiculous to be on a leash, but I have come to the conclusion that I want an attack goose of my own, and I will train it to attack people that are rude to me.

Trivia went better than expected. The troops rallied, we shared a delicious pizza, some pretty decent imported beers, and most importantly, during one round, we absolutely cleaned house. Every other team scored maybe 7-10, but we managed to pull a 14 out of 15 correct, which I attribute to my foodie knowledge. We then subsequently knew nothing else and lost.

Friday was a lazy day, we went shopping for more house-groceries and a remarkable amount of yogurts that the cashier couldn’t resist commenting on. Ginny and I went to register, since Bambi had to work the afternoon. I just don’t understand why paperwork in China takes so long, the bureaucracy is so inefficient. We waited for a very long time, giggled over the very poorly translated English instructions, and wondered if we could just go around and offer to translate things correctly for the Chinese government.

I handed the police woman the three passports. She leafed through them, typed a few things and then held up mine with the picture open.
“这是谁?” she asked. “Who is this?” She seemed genuinely puzzled. Sure, the picture was taken when I was 17 and I had long hair, but surely I haven’t changed that much. Also, I gave her three passports, and two of them were boys!

I went to dinner with Jersey at a Yunnan style restaurant called Da Li near Nanluoguxiang. It was in the back of this sketchy looking alley, poorly marked, and somewhere I probably wouldn’t venture all by my lonesome, but it turned out to be a really nice place with an adorable looking courtyard. There are a lot of restaurants with courtyards and roof decks that I am excited to revisit once the weather gets warm.

Grilled Shrimp and Chemical Lemony Deep Fried Leaves

Da Li has a prix fixe menu, where they just bring out dishes to you. I rather like that-I’m a big fan of chef tasting menus at home. They brought us an abundance of food. Starting with a dried mushroom dish and a lemony salad with glass noodles, grilled shrimp with deep fried lemony leaves (I took a bite, realized I wasn’t a koala, and stopped eating the leaves), we moved on to small bites of fried chicken and vegetables, two big fish covered liberally with spices, a plate of fresh mushrooms sliced and sauteed, rice and noodles. We ordered a surprisingly nice bottle of white to go with the very spicy food and overall everything was really tasty.

Spicy Fish with Green Chile Dipping Sauce

After dinner I met up with my roomies in Sanlitun, getting lost and wandering around the village until I found their bar just as they were deciding to switch venues. We went to Bar Blue, which was kind of empty, and took over the dance floor, assiduously avoiding the creepster old man with no arm movement dancing at all the young girls. We didn’t stay very long, opting to go find chuanr and grilled mian bao. While standing around eating our delicious, delicious street food, we were witness to the worst cat fight ever between to leopard-print wearing local girls. It looked like maybe they were trying to bring Jersey Shore to Beijing, but failing miserably. Not that I condone violence, but if I was going to get into a fight, I’d throw some real punches, none of the hair pulling, shrieking and petty shoving.

Saturday means Frisbee, and we had a really good session. My hand-eye coordination and not getting in people’s way needs to be worked on. I’ve spent the last few days feeling like an old, creaky achy man, however, and I really need to start working out on a regular basis. We had an early big dinner at the Xinjiang restaurant and went to Carrefour and then realized that the girl staying with us had been locked out all afternoon, since she left for an interview without taking a key, and tried to hurry home through rush hour in a cab.

The boys decided to host a Disney themed power hour that evening, which entails watching Disney clips/songs and consuming a vast quantity of beer. We squeezed about 12 people in our little living room to watch on the cheap DVD player the boys picked up that evening from WuMart. The boys had also ordered beer, three cases or 72 large bottles of Yanjing. I was on hand to pay the man when he came to deliver it, and to see the bottles all put out on the floor was astonishing (also, I’d like to add, I love when the delivery people for water or whatnot bring their small children with them, their sons are always just about 5 or 6 and so they’re still in the adorable Asian phase of life).

The Most Beer, Courtesy of the Boys

I must say, there is something awesome in getting a room full of twenty-somethings to belt out Disney lyrics together. We had a great time and managed not to break too many glasses, although the floor the next morning was in a questionable state of stickiness. At some point, we also very quickly motivated to go to a club. It was snowing, again, which I highly did not appreciate, since I was wearing a skirt and flats. One moment we were all sitting around being mellow and then oh hey, we’re all out in the street flagging down cabs.

I woke up exceedingly early to get to my class the next morning. It was a demo for a young girl, and some how I managed to impress her mother enough (how, I’m not sure, because I was not at the top of my game in the slightest) to have her ask for a real class that afternoon. Luckily, I inhaled a bowl of noodles and revived by 11. I taught three more classes before tottering home exhausted to lie on the couch and watch movies with the family. Casino Royale-oh, Daniel Craig, what a gorgeous, gorgeous man. So alpha. Earlier they had gone out and gotten an obscene amount of food so that we could stay in the apartment and be lazy, which was an excellent call, since I was in no way feeling up to cooking a big meal.

Our a-yi came back today after a long chunjie vacation. She is adorable and brought us little peanut and sesame cakes and gave me candy before she left. I just want to hug her. Also, now everything is shiny and clean again, and the best part is that I didn’t have to mop up after the party. Having a cleaning lady is strange for me since when I was growing up, my mom just made my sister and me clean the house, but I’m starting to appreciate the affordable little luxuries that come with living in China.


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