Thursday, August 21, 2014
So this evening, for the first time since I got here, I ventured out even a little bit for dinner, going down to one of the hotel restaurants rather than having a tray in my room.
As you see, I wound up in a Chinese outlet sort of space, one that looked pretty much exactly what I think an HGTV crew set loose in Shanghai would end up with if called on to Love it or List it. It was good food, if fairly far away from our favorite weekly specials at the Szechuan Cabin near our house (I've long understood that American Chinese is a thing apart, but somehow it's still something of a surprise to acknowledge what a gulf there really is), but what made it special came toward the end of the evening.
I arrived latish, you see, and after a while pretty much had the place to myself. Within a few minutes I could hear something coming from the kitchen, and soon I realized that out back there they had some serious talent. There was the usual cosmpolite Eastern mix playing on the restaurant sound system, and somewhere offstage much of the staff was enthusiastically joining in. I have no idea what the piece was (what with it being both distant and Chinese and all). I could be persuaded it was anything from a highlight from one of Mme. Mao's red operas to a current pop hit, but whatever its ideological stripe, it was being done with all the enthusiasm of a community theatre group having a first go at Okahoma!
It was almost enough to pierce the pea-soup fug of jetlag in which I find myself, and somehow it's given me hope that perhaps tomorrow I will be further on the revolutionary road of turning back into a person. As I have the weekend all to myself and hope to get out and about, I can only hope...