Montezuma’s Revenge

Nicholas Quirke was literally drained on 6 April 2020. Waking with an attack of diarrhoea, clearly a punishment for the over overindulgences of the day before, all bodily fluids and his energy were sapped and left him listless. It was a bank holiday for China, The Sweeping Tombs festival, and they had originally planned to go to the Beijing countryside by car, but none of the national parkland was open and if they left the city environs they would have to quarantine on their return which was not an option for either, but even a smaller trip, on the beautiful, warm summer day was off the cards due to his parlous state. He was grateful once again for the medical pack his sister had packaged for him. Where would he be without Diaralyte. It was with mixed feelings that he watched Peng devour the cheese cake they had made as he reclined on the sofa to watch TV. After watching the end of Star Wars they watched ‘Vivarium’ a compelling and morbid metaphorical tale of the daily treadmill of life. With no nourishment and his energy severely depleted he felt he should should eat something despite not wanting any food. Peng made him some plain congee which was possibly the most unappetising looking bowl of gruel he had seen and possibly tasted. It did perk him up a little and as it was a very warm and sunny day felt a jaunt was needed. They cycled to yet another mall in the unexplored Beijing Financial district. Once again a plethora of high class label stores, which made him wonder how one city could support so many shops and tried to imagine mall life in London. They had a look through a high class supermarket where the range of mushrooms surprised him, as did the size of Durians which he’d always imagined to be the dimensions of an apple but these huge prickly fruits were as big as a persons head. He was still feeling the effects of his mornings malaise and Peng sourced a restaurant which served a Vegetarian Vietnamese Pho. They cycled to the Lafayette Mall in Xidan, another first time visit, An found He managed the spring rolls, but just as he tasted the Pho, Peng who acted as taster stopped him saying its fish in the stock. Once again that day he watched Peng eat while he sat with the need for sustenance. They moved on to Wagga’s where all he could eat that they had left on the menu was a roasted vegetable salad. Where were the roasted veg!. As it was a beautiful clear warm evening and the Moon shone brightly they walked home. He was feeling better, though weary by the time they reached home. It was still not the time to try eating anything rich and the vegan cheesecake would have to wait till the next day. It was with that thought he closed his eyes for the night.

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