First time on this blog? Beijing Traffic Lesson: Left Turn is probably a good place to start.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Frank's Place

Nothing exciting or especially funny today, but I did do something new. After another longish day at work, I got back to my apartment and I thought: No noodles tonight.

So I went outside, hailed a cab and went about a mile to Frank's Place, a local expatriate bar and restaurant.

I had a burger and fries with the watery ketchup they serve here and some Tsing Tao beer. All was excellent. I got to watch a cricket match and caught some MLB scores from last night/this morning on ESPN Hong Kong (I still have NO IDEA how Cricket works, but England seemed to be winning 346-4 over someone.)

Didn't actually speak to anyone, but it was a cool environment. I bet there were places that were the equivalent of this in newly opened cities throughout history. Shanghai in the 1920's, Cairo in the 1890's, Bombay in the 1850's -- heck, maybe even St. Louis felt like this at one time. Anyplace there's new money to be made, you've got this flood of outsiders looking to capitalize, but they always want a place that serves familiar food and beer.

With all the different languages, the nerd in me who wants things to be dramatic imagined it with a kind of Indiana Jones feel - the American and his British sidekick confronting Germans in the bar in Cairo.

There was the Englishman who spoke perfect Mandarin, the Chinese man in a T-shirt that said 'Las Vegas' and was covered in American flags, a group of Americans in linen shirts and Bermuda shorts playing pool and hitting on Chinese women, an Indian couple watching Cricket, proper-looking older German gentlemen with shaved heads and perfectly trimmed silver goatees, and a group of crop-haired, muscular, dangerous-looking men in baseball caps, jeans and muscle shirts who seemed to alternate between Australian-accented English and German.

Their lives are probably all as mundane as mine -- but darn if it doesn't FEEL cool.

I went back to the market again, and while I succeeded in buying vegetables, I ONCE AGAIN was relieved of my bananas. I thought I did it right - I had them weighed and stickered, but I think the sticker tore, and the cashier couldn't scan it, so she threw them under the register.

These bananas are to me what the rock was to Sisyphus.

I also bought the very smallest package of rice I could find:

4.5 kg, or about 10 pounds.

COMING SOON: I try to figure out how the rice cooker the room came with works.