So what's the big deal?
Well, before I get started: Here's one of the cool things about blogging. I wonder about the origins of 爸 and 妈, Haidong Ji offers some musings and a possible explanation, and then Zhao Xiangpeng provides a link to a Baidu Zhidao post on the subject.
Anyway: So what's the big deal?
Last night was a going away party for a couple of friends. He's a former colleague, she's lzh's former boss. It was decided we'd go to the Kro's Nest, next to Vics inside Gongti Beimen, for "the best pizza in Beijing". Biggest pizza in Beijing, almost certainly, but best is a pretty big claim.
So here's how it happened: Hoegaardens were ordered. They arrived in 50 cl- that's right, 500 ml, half litre, pint more or less- glasses. For 35 yuan, the same price as at the Tree if I remember rightly, but twice the size. Kro's Nest 1, Tree 0. The rest of the crew arrived, pizzas were ordered. Three large ones, it seemed to my inexperienced eyes, but apparently the one that was put on the extra table because the other two were so large they took up the entire large table we were seated around was a medium. I think maybe the pizzas were made by American sizing. So let's make this as clear as possible: Collossal huge pizzas carved into gigantic slices. Kro's Nest 2, Tree 0. I got a "slice" (it reminded me of the brontosaurus ribs from the Flintstones, it was so huge) of the Mighty Meat pizza, allegedly drowned in bits of dead animal. Drowned in tomato paste with less recognisable dead animal than I was expecting. Hmmmm..... That was followed with a slice of the Kro's Nest Special or whatever it was called. It tasted very suspiciously the same as the Mighty Meat- lots of tomato paste, very little else in the way of recognisable flavours. Uh oh. Kro's Nest 2, Tree 10. Why? The Tree's pizza has flavour- recognisable, discernible flavour. It's not just that you can pick out the various ingredients of each pizza, you can order two or three different pizzas and each one will be noticeably different and unique. So, no, sorry, but the Kro's Nest's huge advantage of Hoegaarden served in pint glasses isn't enough. I'll be sticking with the Tree.
Well, then we adjourned to the Rickshaw. I liked the music- a lot of rock music I remember from my youth. It was fun to listen to it. But when lzh and I left I just couldn't figure out why I ever enjoyed hanging out in smoke-filled, hot, noisy, overcrowded bars. Unless there's a good live band playing, what's the point? Ah well, the fact is that when I met lzh I was already getting very profoundly bored with Beijing's bar scene, anyway.
Still, it was a good time last night. Not good enough to convince me to become a regular of the Kro's Nest or the Rickshaw, but still, I enjoyed it, and that was the whole point of the exercise. Giant pizza, even if it didn't live up to it's claims of being the best in Beijing, and huge Hoegaardens, throw in some decent company, can't go wrong.But still, in five days time, yet another friend will be leaving China for good. Sure, we will, as always, get to scavenge through the detritus of their China life and salvage what we can make use of, but still... Sometimes it seems the most commonly uttered phrase in China expat English is "Goodbye, and best of luck in your new life".