Nicholas Quirke was feeling he was at the mercy of Peng’s thirst for new foods on 2 December 2020 as he found himself bound once more for Livat mall and it’s IKEA Store. It had just been announced that China Ikea was now serving plant based meatballs and sorbet. These had to be tried and as it was the Christmas season it was decided to head to the store and get some decorations along with sampling vegan fare. He and his sister annually made a trip to IKEA at Christmas time and it seemed that even with 5089 miles between them he was going to be keeping up the convention. A visit to the store was not complete without first eating in the canteen but on arriving they discovered a long, long queue which they mindlessly joined. They were herded through the channels which took about 20 minutes and though the food was tasty, and he had not had the plant based meat balls from IKEA before, he felt it was not worth the excessive wait. It was fascinating to see the Chinese assimilating western customs. There was an eagerness to consume the European cuisine and he saw people with trays piled with a variety of plates. He could not help but chuckle when 3 customers next to them had purchased literally every dish on the menu and had laid it out, banquet style on the table. They wandered through the store and collected a few items along the way, including a gnome that nicholas took a fancy to. Tradition at home in the uk dictated he have an advent candle but there was nothing appropriate and he left empty handed. It was a remarkably controlled spree and once it was over and they found themselves outside the IKEA Bistro it was only appropriate that they try the new Vegan Hot Dog and the strawberry sorbet and Nicholas found himself consuming food yet again. As always his visit to Livat mall ended with a tea in InWe where they both did some work and ate cake. Night had fallen by the time they left. The long subway journey home was an opportunity for him to play some online Scrabble which he was slowly becoming addicted to. They chose to walk home through the neighbouring Hutong though he got a shock when he was filming a red flag and an official started shouting at him. They were joined by two old ladies and he could not understand what the fuss was especially as Peng seemed to get more irate with them. It transpired that it was not his filming of the red flag that was the controversy, but that he hadn’t used the QR code on entering the neighbourhood. No one had, and the debate was about why a Laowai needed to do it but no one else. Though it seemed unnecessary he had a smoothie for supper and some gingerbread. To address his disappointment in not getting an advent calendar Peng got creative and turned the tea lights he had bought into one tall candle. Nicholas celebrated the day by donning the purchases and posing for some ludicrous photographs before retiring for the nights coma.


  1. Nice PJs Nick! Pengs Christmas trees are extraordinary. Very designer. I have probably missed it but have you been offered a vaccine yet? If you have, is it madatory? X

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