Weekend Eating Echoes

Nicholas Quirke was surprised that his Sunday 27 June 2021 echoed his Saturday 26 June 2021 as Peng wanted to eat at a Peruvian restaurant ‘Tititikaka’ which was next door to Qmex where they lunched on the start of the weekend. Peng had to visit his parents on the Saturday and this meant Nicholas had a morning of lounging about the apartment playing online scrabble and Blockudo. It is astonishing how time can be squandered so quickly. he had planned to visit a tea rooms but by the time he had satisfied the urge to game he needed to be leaving to get to Dongshitao to a branch they hadn’t been to for a while where he was meeting Peng for a Mexican meal. He took the subway and then cycled on an unfamiliar route alongside the river. It was hot, but that did not stop him from enjoying the ride and cycling for a km past the restaurant location. Despite the sunshine it was cool in the shade and he opted to sit outside. Though it was initially shady by the time Peng arrived the sun had spread its rays and the moved inside. They had to sit at a bar stool and Nicholas was distracted by the close proximity of other laowai’s who were always the downside of eating anywhere with a western ambience. He felt uncomfortable and sought out another seat at a low table and for the third and definitely final time they moved seats. It may have been his familiarity with the menu but he found the food lacklustre and made a mental note to repel any suggestions of revisiting the establishment. Conveniently in the building next door was a cafe and in comfortable air conditioned bar they whiled the afternoon away, he working on his blog and Peng continuing his binge watching of ‘The Leftovers’ that so occupied him Nicholas was slightly resentful of recommending it. When looking for a cafe they had discovered a Peruvian restaurant promoting its vegetarian menu, including a ‘Vegan’ ceviche. This sounded good and they agreed to have lunch there the next day. The movie for the evening was the incredibly silly ‘Bad Hair’. This was entertaining on many levels. A black comedy that was not only a wonderful parody of the horror genre but managed to successfully make a serious commentary on racial stereotypes and make him laugh out loud. It had the bonus of being gory too and there were moments when he was squirming in my seat. The term ‘bad hair day’ will never have the same connotations now that he had seen this. It had been a low key but fun day and it was rounded off with a satisfying sleep. An early rise as he had to teach he left early as he planned a slow cycle to the school in the humid air. He actually discovered that once he was cycling a cool breeze wafted about him and he thought it would not be so bad. However, the first set of lights he game to that he had to stop at had sweat pouring from him in rivers and he was wet and uncomfortable by the time he got to the school. He was initially annoyed as they put him in a classroom with no windows but once he discovered a fan unit and had it blasting icy cold air at him he was consoled. Once it was over he found himself cycling the same route he had the day before and feeling confident about where he was going he ignored the strange click he heard over the music in his ears. He stopped to film the river and discovered that his ‘selfie stick’ had disappeared. He realised it was the strange click he had heard and so the cycled back and forth, eventually going right back to the start of the river and as he cycled and searched an officer at the building waved him down. He had picked up the stick that had fallen in the road. He was grateful and put up with the foreign admonishment and even allowed the guard to put it safely in his bag. By the time he got to the restaurant the 5 km ride had become 7 and it was the last thing he had needed in the heat. The meal was more problematic than it had seemed as not only was the ‘Veggie burger’ on curried rice ludicrously overpriced, the equivalent of £2 more than the meat version, the vegan Caviche turned out to not be vegan after all. It was another western enterprise, overpriced and populated with laowai. No mental note not to return there was needed it was a forgone conclusion. They took a differing route to the station which was a relief to him as the riverside route had been well and truly pounded over the weekend and he was quite happy not to see its pretty banks again. Finding a suitable movie was not a problem as having indulged in a hair salon horror the night before, Peng had found another hair dresser holy terror, ‘The Stylist’ which, bore close resemblance to the plot of a chiller he has cooked up with Cole some years before. It was immensely entertaining with a breathtaking opening which made it almost impossible for the rest of the film to live up to its glory, or should he say gory. But it kept his attention and found the conclusion more than satisfying. The dark comic edge kept it from being too disturbing and allowed him a smooth and happy nights sleep.

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