Car Careful

Nicholas Quirke was in dangerous territory on 23 June 2020 when Peng had to take his car to have the windows tinted at the car Showrooms he had bought it from in the Fengtai district. Notable as the area is home to the Xinfadi Agricultural Wholesale Market, which provides more than 90% of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables and covers an area of 112 hectares. It is claimed to be the largest wholesale food market in Asia, and it is here where the recent outbreak of COVID19 in Beijing was initiated. It was evident, as they drove to the garage through Fengtai, from the dearth of vehicles and people on the roads and pavements that this area was still suffering the shock waves of the potential 2nd wave. Even more shocking was driving past the market itself, which was immense, and seeing it shuttered and policed made him think of all the vendors that worked there and how the livelihoods of thousands was again under threat, and how the food chain in Beijing was suffering. Oddly, as it was primarily Fruit and Veg this meant that being a Vegan was actually now a disadvantage, with vegetable dishes in establishments being off the menu as the main source was now broken. Once the car windows had been tinted they got out of the area, wearing face masks, even in the car, and drove to Livat Mall to have some tea and lunch. As one of the first malls he had been to on his own after quarantine it was memorable to him for virtually no shops open and no customers any where. He had subsequently seen it with customers and shops open and he was now witnessing it in another guise with the shops all open now but no customers again; people too worried to venture into public spaces. Once again that day his thoughts turned to the havoc COVID19 was wreaking on peoples livelihoods. It was depressing to see the empty mall again, depressing to told that the dishes they wanted to eat weren’t available, depressing to consider the worldwide deaths, the worldwide slump attributable to this disease. They did however get very creative with the dishes they were ordering and aside from a favoured Xian style noodle dish, they ate some vibrant yellow buns and finished with some tasty, mouth watering, incredibly fattening, fried cake. It was imperative then that Nicholas got some prime exercise and walked 7 km on the treadmill. He collapsed on the sofa to enjoy another unmemorable film before slumber.


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