Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The passing of JK

The landlord of my favourite bar should very soon be back home in Australia, if he isn't already. He left us 11 days ago, but was allowing himself a short spell of R&R en route, checking out a few places down in South China and South-East Asia.

The whole of the week leading up to his departure was a fairly intensive farewell binge, but the pivotal night was a fortnight ago today, when he rallied quite a little crowd of disreputables to join him on a last bar crawl around the Nanluoguxiang/Gulou area.

We started, of course, in 12 Square Metres (now delegated to the very capable hands of MB and LJ), moved on to MaoMaoChong (Tuesdays usually a dark night there, but Stephen and Stephanie were part of the party, so gladly opened up for an hour or so), then Salud, then Great Leap Brewing, then the newly opened Temple bar just off Gulou Dongdajie, then the Pool Bar, and finally Amilal. We had been planning to end around the corner at El Nido, but stamina began to flag rather after 6 hours or so on the lash - and we weren't sure Xiao Shuai would still be open at 2am in the early part of the week. 

Instead, our last port of call (oh, the shame of it!) was the Jiaodaokou McDonald's - where one of our party was very nearly refused service. The counter lady was rather discombobulated to find herself being addressed - in slurry but functional Mandarin - by a shop-window mannequin named Roger. We had found the dummy abandoned at the side of the road at some point in our peregrinations, and we instantly adopted it, christened it, brought it along for the rest of the night. It was quite an imposing figure: gleaming white, androgynous, featureless - somewhat reminiscent of Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still (though with a strangely withered left leg, which fed my sense of kinship with him - don't ask).  I was rather regretful that we left him behind outside the McD's to "find new friends" (I have something of a history of taking these strange companions home with me!). One of our group removed his detachable right hand, and took it home - to use as a macabre paperweight, I suppose.

That was a fine send-off for the big man. I do hope it won't prove to be the last-ever event of its kind: he is threatening to come back one day, but I have my doubts...  We shall see.

Happy trails, my friend.

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