Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Last Table

It may take me a week or more to recover from the last few days, and particularly from Friday.

My affection for the wonderful, wonderful Pool Bar is now more firmly cemented than ever; indeed I feel that I have quite literally become part of "the family" there after being accorded the privilege of being invited to join the young owner's wedding celebration. Luke and his bride, Yvonne, are an exceptionally attractive young couple, and it was a very moving event. (I particularly enjoyed their kitschy video re-enactment of their love story, entirely based around the bar. Apparently he first got to know her by offering to help her when she was struggling to park her car in a narrow space right by the front door. And later - according to the movie version, anyway - he proposed to her beside the pool table. My favourite bit, though, is the first time she ventures inside the bar and surveys its divey-ness with some suspicion.)

Luke came through the multiple toasting and hazing which Chinese bridegrooms have to endure with remarkable steadiness. I rather think he had taken the wise precaution of filling his bottle of baijiu with plain water. Luke's dad, on the other hand, was drinking like a trooper. Yes, Luke's dad - now officially The Coolest Person In The World - in addition to his many other astonishing talents, can also drink. He was toasting each table in red wine - admittedly not very big glasses, but there were 20-odd tables. After that, he got seriously busy with the beer, chugging a 25cl glass down in one on at least 3 or 4 occasions (I was about the only person attempting to keep up with him on this; and I was failing). He had quite a few shots of baijiu with us as well. And he really didn't seem to be very much the worse for wear after all that.

By 2pm or so, most of the guests were departing, and Crazy Chris (the other representative customer at the event) and I were thinking that we too should be on our way. But Dad summoned us to join his "survivors' table"....... and then proceeded to round up every undrunk bottle left in the place. There must have been 15 or 20 bottles of beer and at least 3 bottles of baijiu. Dad's attitude seemed to be: "I've paid for this; we're damn well going to drink it. Nobody leaves until it's all gone." We did just about manage it - although the hotel staff ejecting us from the banqueting hall at 3pm may have saved us from the last of the baijiu. I was finding the room quite spinny by this point, but Dad...... well, what can I say? The man has the constitution of a rhinoceros.

5 hours later he was opening up the bar. Well, OK, he was half an hour late - but we forgive him.

Congratulations to Luke & Yvonne, and much happiness to them.

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