I was walking past this window on ma way back to the gaff a couple of days ago and looking in from the outside it was like someone’s kitchen. Nothing unique about that eh? But, it had beers in a fridge, you know, a proper chiller you get in some shops usually filled with juice, but with Quindao beer.
It does not stop there. Red wine, lots of beakers which I assumed was for tea and the likes, but ohh how I was soo wrong. There is a table, some instruments in the corner and in this room there is space for about 6 people. I look up and there is a neon sign, not switched on and to look at it, it probably does not work and has not worked for years. So its a bar, of sorts. 3 people sitting around smiling and having fun, one facing me is quite the bonnie sort as well, so I roll in to some quite queer looks, which is the norm for a chap my size. I bet their thinking, I hope he does not want to sit in my lap.
‘Pee-Jyoh’ I sound out knowing I have not saved the Chinese for beer (啤酒) in my phone and I point towards the big bottles in the fridge. ‘Shi de’ comes back which means result to me and I take a seat, again to quite some strange looks, so I quickly put a tenner on the table from my pocket, she knocks of the cap and hands the beer and some change, half the battle done.
Right hand on my chest I say ‘Alan’ and repeat this and three names come back, only one of which I really pick up on – Lei. I looked up later and it means Thunderous, which is puzzling cos I could hardly hear a word she said. Well, for over an hour I sat there, not saying much, listening to conversations between the others in the room, with them occasionally saying something to me in broken English.
One dude came in, stared at me and I am sure said ‘Who’s the chubster?’ to his pals as they all laughed. Who am I, I dinnae really care. He broke out the guitar and started to play, something local and melodic. I sat happy, supping on cheap beers, talking it all in.
Now the beakers n stuff, I learn are all for making the tea, which is big here shockingly. Chrysanthemum tea is what the dude has and it smells ace. Jasmine, Black Tea and the likes and think we go as far as putting some lime in hot water. I’m on ma phone (how rude), cos I want some of this tea malarkey and low and behold you can get bubble milk tea, I’m thinking white Russian!!
I show the symbol on my phone, she says it aloud and we all laugh, albeit I don’t know why I’m laughing. She nips ben the back, brings a sachet and starts brewing. It looks strange as the bubbles are tapioca and I’m thinking I’m right back at school eating my tapioca pudding. It’s a sharp taste and somewhat bitter, but creamy and methinks that right after this I will be ready for bed.
I can go into great detail about how they gestured to me to sing a song and all I could give them were a shortened version of Campbeltown Loch. It’s times like these I wish I was a bit more like a chum of mines called Dakes, who can belt this out from start to end and. He kens all the words and is truly a star.
It’s not long after this, a tad bit sheepish I say ‘duo xie’ and head off. Surreal, but enjoyable. I even got a wave in passing the next night, shame I was heading off to the see the old firm game. It was closed by the time I got back.