To be fair, she had all kinds of factors working against her; took longer than expected to get through immigration, to ship 1/3 of my luggage then to get intl data roaming with Verizon working which eventually epicfailed. By the time I got to eating which I basically came here for, it was past 8:30pm only at a tourist attraction with questinable authenticity which reasonably annoyed me. I do admit that I came in with a bad attitude, and a jam session I stumbled upon was so uninspired that it made me wanna rethink my own, let alone the decision to stay a night here. I will have to elaborate on this in a later post. Also this Tiger beer is giving me headache.
But is there anyone in here sober enough to tell me what the fuck is going on?
Since I'm offline I can't even call Uber to go home and I'd rather not cab back to the suburb where my Airbnb is. Ask one lady making solo bonfire where one can find a bar that stays open late, she points at a door behind her and I walk in to find a narrow stage with 2 poles. 3 girls singing some EDM and BOOM 🎉 right in front. Tables have "towers" of Tiger beer and the people are piss-wasted. As I try to snap a solo drinker passed out face down, "Ivy" comes looking into my phone and flirtatiously deletes the photo. She grabs me to an open table and brings me a glass of Tiger. The same concept, only with the 21st century facelift/enhancements (quite literally for a lot of these girls who really cannot sing or dance). #zerofucksgiven taken to where everyone involved is dehumanized. Everyone is a subject of exploitation. To my left, one girl is sitting on a dude's lap resting her head in her hands, clearly inebriated and probably dazed/confused. It's probably not her face. Not her body. Now not her mind either. I close out. Ivy no longer flirts.
As I exit, though, I find where a part of that identity comes from in the shape of - you guessed it - food. At a fucking airport.
With any noodle soup, I tend to start with toppings such as chashu, fishcakes, sprouts and onions and whatnot, to get a glimpse of flavor before grabbing the noodle. Not a rule, just an unconscious habit. So I grab the piece of sliced beef and my jaw drops to the floor - that is one tasty piece of meat. Then with the boiled egg I basically have the same jaw drop, thinking is this the soup I'm tasting? Upon grabbing the noodle which is a bit soft for my taste, I realize when they say it's their signature soup they mean it. #mindblown. A polar opposite of Bakso in Jakarta the other night; while the Indonesian soup was visceral and burning hot like its weather, the Chinese pork bone broth is exquisite and deep, like its river. It's not overly salty or oily, a brain-fried LA hipster might find it bland, but sure is addictive. I had to stop myself from cleaning up bowl since I had a few more things coming my way, but for a minute there I lost myself. I lost myself.
Then I wept. Inside. The fucking soup touched my soul.
In my head I saw a river. An unidentified body of water that stretches from the mountains afar. It was not a fantasy of what I hope to see, but a humbling realization of my lack of knowledge, a reconfirmation and an awe of the distance I have ahead, until I find whatever the fuck I am looking for. Then I really decided not go to Beijing this trip. I will need more time and prep just to even scratch the surface of China. China is not a country. It's a continent. A civilization. A mother. And in there somewhere, I might find my father.