Not every Day Can be Perfect

Nicholas Quirke was experiencing something of a disappointing day on 26 July 2021 which, started when he paid a morning visit to the Poly Cinema and Beijing fun mall to see ‘Chinese Doctors’, an account of the heroic work done by medical staff in Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. He woke to a morning of pouring rain and initially thought he was going to endure getting very wet on his cycle ride but to his relief, though it was wet on the road the skies were a lot drier. During his stay in China, he had come to expect emotional manipulation when it comes to films from the hand of Andy Lau and he was not surprised, although he was disappointed, to find this account of the doctors in Whuhan had enough cheese to reduce the efforts of the health workers to mere soap opera. It is a powerful, heartbreaking and moving story without pouring sentiment into it. Some of the some of the individual stories were genuinely touching and there were moments of truth, the reactions from family when they are asked to use the corpse of their deceased relatives for research felt genuinely painful, but the brave work of Doctors  and nurses, cleaners and delivery boys that really does deserve recognition and respect loses its strength in this sentimental politically correct construct. He had arranged to meet Peng for lunch at Veggie Table who were proudly boasting new plant based meat dishes. He had always felt that the restaurant, ideally located though a little tatty in Wudaoying Hutong, two minutes from the Lama Temple and the purveyors of vegan ice cream, were a little overpriced, but when he saw they were asking the equivalent of £10 for a basic veggie burger and food that he could make himself for a tiny fraction of the price his inner miser rebelled and they left to find somewhere else. They had already agreed to have a favoured black sesame bing at a Buddha restaurant whose food was too tasteless for them to want eat there properly and they stopped to consume but that was disappointingly dry and a mental note was made to never return to that also overpriced vegan bolthole. They walked to a more traditional Beijing style restaurant where they are fried Jiaozi, a tofu paste, Beijing sausage and pop. It all felt a little greasy and he definitely felt a little bloated by the plain food. Fortunately there was a cafe close by where they decided to refresh and work. It was a quirky over decorated space and they made themselves comfortable, had the air con turned down only to discover they didn’t serve Americans coffee. The appearance of noisy family gave them the impetus to leave and they walked 2 km to Camera Stylo. This was the fifth place they had sat down to eat or drink in and though it wasn’t ideal they agreed they would make the most of being there, tea and vegan cakes made the rest of the afternoon worth it. He had a feeling that the day hadn’t been a success but consoled himself with the thought that every day couldn’t be perfect. Any thoughts that film they would watch that evening might lift the mood were dashed when despite the stylish photography, ‘Till Death’, staring Megan Fox had a lame plot line and was too much pouting collagen lips and meaningful looks for him. Similarly, if he had hoped for satisfying sleep, the food he had digested at lunch played havoc with his stomach and a disturbed night of visits to the lavatory led to a disappointingly disturbed slumber.

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