Chu Ba: Honour the Grain

Nicholas Quirke was concerned on the morning 19 February 2021 that he had not learned the digestive lessons his disturbed sleep on Chu Leu should have taught him. It was another night of fragmented slumber and serious effort was required to drag himself out of bed and begin the day which, according to legends, this is the grain’s birthday and as agriculture was the basis of ancient Chinese society people highly valued the grain. January 8th of the lunar calendar a day to was going to involve more eating. He breakfasted on Manto and peanut butter before tackling the ironing and watching another episode of ‘Resident Alien’ to which he was becoming addicted. Honouring the grain they had two Beyond Meat rice dishes for lunch, one of which came exotically wrapped in a lotus leaf. The following day was an important date in the Chinese calendar and they were going to need cake to celebrate and make the appropriate offering. There was a bakery at the China world Mall they had been to when Nicholas had first landed in China and where Peng had comically and painstakingly examined every product for information about what they contained. They were going back there and he was amused that the same ritual would be performed. As it was, once they arrived the staff made it clear to them that the products were limited as there had been no delivery during the New Year and therefore the choice was an easy one and the pantomime of bending over and examining the cakes was short lived. They settled themselves in a tea bar for a couple of hours before going for supper at ‘Green Options’ a healthy food restaurant in the mall. As they left the mall dusk was starting to settle and the state of the art towers looked really alluring in the night lights. The temperature had reached seventeen degrees during the day and as the air was extremely cool and pleasant it gave them a reason to walk through the streets to line 2 of the subway rather than change lines to enjoy the dazzling cityscape. At home it was another evening of decisions about what motion picture to watch and though they saw the trivial story through to its end, ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ was a tedious choice, though it certainly put him a somnambulistic state when sleep beckoned.

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