Vegan Night

Nicholas Quirke was experiencing deja vu again on 7 April 2020 when he found himself on yet another Wednesday at 5pm and trapped in a park. Why he still expected life to run according to plan after nearly 60 years of discombobulation was beyond him. The smooth flow of a day he always believed was in his grasp but forever seemed to elude him and some minor misfortune smote his plans. He was returning to the Massage Hospital at Ping-Anli and like every community in Beijing the Hutong, the street, the apartments had their property managers who would man the street entrance and in the time of COVID-19, take the temperature and ensure that only healthy and legitimate people could be allowed through. He always had to show the badge he wore around his neck and record the always low body temperature. Today a small but significant joy occurred when on approaching the community officers, a ‘Ni Hau’ at the ready, they said hello and waved him through without even checking his body heat. He felt known and that he belonged. Despite feeling much better he consulted with the doctor and booked another 5 sessions which at just over £7 was a bargain. Once again the massage hurt and got to the root of the pain but he felt the the benefit of the effects. Once home he got to work on the blog where once again technology defeated him. With assistance from the tech angel Peng over the internet he finally got it sorted. He had thought he would not manage to get out to see the Yuan Dadu City Ruins he had set himself to see but once it was posted, although 3pm he headed north on the subway and bike and got to the park. Most of the gates were closed, and it took him a while to find out how to get in. He was in and then it was only a matter of finding the ruins. He walked and walked and looked and searched and still could not find the Ruins and by the time he was due to leave to meet Peng for supper he was disorientated and disappointed not to have found any ruins apart from some armoury relics, although he had enjoyed the perambulation through the park. He managed to find his way to an exit with aid of Peng and strangers and was met at a subway station by his friend who led them to the only Pizza restaurant offering a vegan option, that he had diligently sourced in Beijing, probably in China. They ordered and ate and Peng was extremely happy to finally have the western food he so loved. They made sure everything they had on the menu, including the beer, was vegan and when it came to pay they were told it was vegan Wednesday and as everything they had ordered was vegan they got 20% off the bill. They finished the evening with a sorbet at stylish clothes outlet called Decades and then headed home.

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