Rum Weasley Comes to Beijing

It’s been quite the week. Bambi returned home from his month-long State-side visit and I made a little welcome back dinner. I may have been a little ambitious with our kitchen space, and I feel terrible for the mess I left the ayi to clean up (although the boys assured me that they have left her many more dishes to clean, which didn’t actually make me feel any better). I finally made the crack sauce, by simmering water, sugar and rice vinegar with julienne ginger, garlic, chiles with fish sauce and lime juice. I also made some green curry paste, with some minor tweaks, having run out of coriander and lemongrass. I blended fresh basil, several chilies, a shallot, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, cumin, paprika, lime juice and coconut milk together.

Steamed some sticky rice I had set to soak in the morning. Diced an eggplant and pepper and two duck breast that I removed the skins from. Browned the duck in oil, tossed in the vegetables, a cup of coconut milk, broth, fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, garlic and ginger and brought to a boil, then simmered. I made brownies as well, jazzing up the box mix with crumbled up dark chocolate and caramel. Then I threw together the batter, but I couldn’t find my measuring cup and eyeballed the amounts of flour and water. It came out a little of the watery side, so the fried chicken didn’t have the same crispiness as the first time I made it, but with the same oyster sauce and garlic heavy marinade overnight, it came out moist and delicious. Not only was there batter spills and pepper seeds everywhere and dirty dishes stacked up, but I think the amateur construction next door has damaged a water pipe somewhere because there’s a constant leak in out kitchen that doesn’t originate from our sink or any of our visible pipes, and the inexplicable leak in our window nook and Bambi’s room.

I managed to navigate a rather user unfriendly website to reserve tickets for Harry Potter, which has finally come out in China (a delayed opening to prevent it from hurting ticket sales of a CCP anniversary movie in July). Then teaching. I arrived early and the mother insisted that I eat dinner with the family. So I sat in the hot stifling kitchen and smiled and talked with her toothless, smiling parents who were visiting, and at his mother’s insistence, my ten year old student insisted that I accept a beer. I was a bit reluctant to start drinking with the family before I had even started teaching but they insisted and the father swapped the beer the son gave me for an ice cold one, bless his heart.

Summer League: hot, but not terrible, the centipedes had disappeared, Ninette got cleated and I got elbowed in the jaw. On the bus from Summer League, we thought it would be funny if Ginny, who has a passing resemblance to Rupert Grint due to their both having red hair, was mistaken for him by people at the theater. And then we wondered what would be necessary to make that happen…and a plan was hatched.

Ginny wore a Gryffindor shirt and scarf under a blazer, and Bambi and BG wore similar suits. We met Leia and BG at their apartment for whiskey and final additions–blue tooth ear pieces for Rupert’s “security” team, and nice printed pictures for him to sign. He practiced a few times, but everything he wrote kind of looked like “Rum Weasley”. Then we met friends at our boozy Chinese dinner restaurant, the Lucky Dragon. Small children were amazed by us and kept popping into the room and until Bambi and BG stood outside the door like body guards, when their mothers promptly grabbed them and dragged them away. Our waitress asked us if we knew Justin Bieber, and instantly all the boys started belting out “Baby, Baby”. Oh dear. we stopped for beverages and then made it to Sanlitun for the movie, only to be told that my reservation had been cancelled.

We were there half an hour before the movie started and they sold our tickets. What the hell! I made angry faces and swore a lot loudly by the counter and eventually they found us seats. While all of this was happening, BG and Bambi were making sure no one got to close to Ginny, who was smiling at people, handing out his pictures and speaking in a terrible British accent. They sold this mostly by clearing a radius of people away from him and making impassive, angry faces. People started taking pictures and asking for autographs. One group of people walked up to me and asked “Do you know who that is? Is that Harry Potter (i.e., Daniel Radcliffe)?” I almost felt bad about being a part of this deception, except they asked me if a bright redhead was Daniel Radcliffe. All compunctions disappeared. “No, no, he’s from the Harry Potter movie. The red-headed friend.” They oohed appropriately and snapped some pictures. Some girls asked if he was from Transformers. My favorite? An American girl walked past Leia and me in a huff, “Oh my god this is such bullshit! The real one is much chubbier, what a fucking scam!” She was quite angry it wasn’t actually Rupert.

After the movie he waited outside and started shaking people’s hands as they left. Then we decided to walk through Sanlitun. A group of girls saw Ginny with his “security detail.” They started asking themselves excitedly “shi ta? bu shi. yiding shi. zhende? shi ta!” Or in other words, “Is it him? No…it has to be really, yes its him!” and they started running after them until the boys turned into the stairs for a bar and they hesitated and wondered what to do next, then ran away. After convincing more people sitting near us that Ginny was famous for some reason (Ginny insisted I hold his hand and look interested while the people behind us looked at his picture and looked at him and checked their smartphones, and ultimately decided it was him and took pictures), we went to GT banana to meet up with Allie and her visiting friend. I actually didn’t enjoy myself that much–Chinese Valentine’s Day, lots of heart themed things, dancers on stage, and it was far too crowded. The dance floor was disgusting. I like to be able to dance when I go out, not just stand sort of moving while getting smooshed up against gross sweaty smelly strangers who leer at you and think that just because the masses around you are making it physically impossible to get away, that they can grind on you. Say hello to my sharp pointy elbow and a well placed knee. But Bambi loved it and ran up on stage and started dancing (oh good lord) and dance-taunting the bouncers trying to pull him down, much to the crowds amusement. The dancers loved him. The crowd loved him. The bouncers did not, getting up and pulling him off and dragging him out, and throwing him out by the neck. I had to fight my way through the maze of levels to find where he had left his jacket and meet him outside to go home.

Teaching and afternoon naps and reading a book on Sunday, plus watching several episodes of Game of Thrones (my new TV-binge guilty pleasure now that I’ve finished the Misfits series, which I highly recommend), so I’d say on the whole, the weekend was a success…


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