Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Nov 18 2007

Still sick

It’s probably a bad idea to write under the influence of codeine, but here goes.

Friday after work I was out shooting with my new lens and decided to stop by the newly renovated second floor of the train station. It’s all done by the Breeze Mall people, and it’s a classy job. There are many good restaurants in there, including a spot for a future Sababa. Walking up from the scruffy, depressing first floor to the elaborate, warm second floor is like night and day. The restaurants on the inside of the square look out over the main hall and ticket windows, which is a cool 60’s lounge effect. Mister Donut is back near its original spot from years ago. It looks like my lunch options have opened up a lot with this new development.

I thought that my cold was over, but when I woke up on Saturday morning it was back, so I skipped tai-chi practice and instead had lunch with Eric and Daniel at the new Sababa near Yongkang Street. It’s impressive, not larger than the other stores but more nicely laid out with a nice balcony and a light, airy feel. The weather was perfect for sitting on the balcony; I was the only one in the place when I walked in just after 2pm, but in a matter of minutes it was full.

By dinnertime my cold was getting worse, and I went to bed early instead of contemplating attending the first day of the Blues Bash IV out in Xizhi. Nyquil aided my sleep, but when I got up on Sunday morning it was rainy and cold outside, and I was in no mood to go out of doors. Nonetheless, I dragged my stuff together, took a large swig of Liquid Brown Mixture that I’d been saving for just such an occasion, and headed out to catch a cab, picking up Slim on the way.

The Dream Community was nearly deserted when we arrived. David and Conor showed up shortly after we did, both looking worse for wear after the previous night. We eventually did our sound check, the technicians hooking up electrical outlets to the lights in the rain while standing on tall metal structures. The speakers, covered with plastic bags, crackled with sound.

After that, it was time for some delicious ribs and mashed potatoes, and then I found an empty table to sit down, put on my sunglasses and take a nap while everyone thought I was either meditating or purposely ignoring them.

The bands started up as the rain continued, and the temperatures continued to drop. Definitely not the best weather to have a cold in, I thought. I went into the office and found the Snowman sitting perplexed at the computer. “It won’t type English!” he was saying. We helped him switch it back from Chinese input.

The show went alright, though we had a hard time hearing each other. After it got dark we couldn’t see the audience, and nobody was standing directly in front of the stage due to the driving rain. But when we finished each song, applause would erupt from shadowy corners of the tents beyond the lights, from a phantom crowd. Playing without Thumper and Sandman was a challenge, but we got some help from outside musicians Nathan James and Bill from DC’s band, who graciously donated their time to cover for the missing Ramblers.

After the show I had some more ribs, stuffing myself pretty thoroughly, as well as some Japanese codeine-based cold medicine from Slim. Back in the office, a young Brazilian man with long dreadlocks was showing his left-handed trumpet, which had sticky valves. I offered him some of my valve oil, but he said he didn’t know how to apply it, so I did it for him. It turns out that he is just now trying to pick up the trumpet, being primarily a percussionist. I gave him a quick lesson and got him playing a C scale, which he seemed happy about.

Outside, we huddled around a portable heater chatting. I was amused to see the show resulting from three guys vying over the attentions of one girl. It was like watching a National Geographic special. “And now the male will attempt to impress the female by attempting to fit the only two Hungarian phrases he knows, i.e. ‘waiting room’ and ‘red wine’ into a normal conversation….and he’s done it! Let’s see how she reacts…”

DC Rapier was getting threats of violence from area residents, so they decided to pack it all up and head on over to Capones. I think this may be the last time the Blues Bash is held at the Dream Community; between the distance, lack of transportation options, and the death threats, it just doesn’t seem to be working out. My hope is that next year they’ll consider having it down at Bitan. On my way back to the office to get my things together, I ran into the guy who I have a small crush on, to whom I admitted at Daniel Pearl Day that I think he’s sexy, etc. I apologized for my behavior, but while I was doing so, I have to admit I was thinking: Damn, he’s sexy in that shirt.

Brent had driven his car to the bash, so Slim and I hooked a ride back to Bitan from him, which was much nicer than taking a taxi even if we did come perilously close to becoming lost in the more dismal parts of urban Xizhi (which is most of it, from what I can tell). I got in, turned on the lights, put on an album of old Christmas favorites, and began to type this out. Tomorrow: back to work.

posted by Poagao at 12:02 pm  


  1. Sorry to hear you were under the (very heavy) weather. Glad to know the performance went well and that no one was electrocuted.

    Comment by Thumper — November 18, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  2. We sure missed you, man, and not just ’cause you keep the beat.

    Comment by Poagao — November 18, 2007 @ 12:56 pm

  3. I had no idea Sababa was doing so well.

    Comment by Mark — November 22, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  4. “instead had lunch with Eric and Daniel at the new Sababa near Yongkang Street.”

    Might you have the address for the new Sababa near Yongkang Jie? Or could you give a description of where it is in location to Yongkang Park or Alleycat’s or Din Tai Feng?


    I enjoy reading your blog–and in reference to your comment in a recent blog post, I think you could, in fact, write your way out of a paper bag. Actually, I think you write very well.

    Comment by fee — November 23, 2007 @ 9:09 am

  5. All the locations are listed on their website:


    Comment by Poagao — November 24, 2007 @ 7:00 am

  6. Thanks for the link.

    Comment by fee — November 25, 2007 @ 10:38 am

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