Tuesday, August 10, 2004

attacked by a beggar....

Oh my god. Where to begin? First of all, normally, I write in the afternoon, but last night was so nuts and I was wide awake at 5:30, that I had to get it all down now. Alex and I decide to come down to the hotel bar early and have a drink. We've been doing this every night and we love the staff at Mezz, the mellow jazz bar on the 2nd floor. We've become kinda palsy with the staff and no longer have to order. They simply bring us our wine and beer. John, the waiter there, keeps telling Alex, "You sister so beautiful. I no pay attention to you."
"Perhaps you two would like to be alone?" jokes Alex. I think John took it a little too seriously. Soon dad showed up and we were off. Dressed to the nines, we took a cab to dinner at M on the Bund, kind of a cross between Postrio and a W Hotel restaurant. It was super trendy and right up my alley. Mom wanted to see some more pictures on the walls and huge floral arrangements, but it's the kind of place I'd hang out in if I lived here. Dinner was extraordinary, literally. The food was flawless Mediterranian fusion and we were all in heaven.
Immediately after dinner, we had to run over to the Peace Hotel, as we had reservations to hear some jazz. Now, if you'll recall, this was MY idea. I love Jazz clubs and envisioned some sort of 1930's dimly lit Chinese version of the Cotton Club. As if walking the 5 jam-packed blocks in gold stilettos weren't traumatic enough, a block away I ran into an old, depressing beggar. As I tried to walk around him, he reached for my handbag, which I held in the air. Being about a foot taller than him, the clutch was perfectly safe. I, however, was not, as he then grabbed me around the waist and basically tried to rip me apart. I screamed bloody murder, mom kicked his cane, and we ran across the street clutching each other and desperate to find dad and Alex, who seemed to be lost in the crowd. They, of course, missed all of this and when told, didn't really care. Nice.
Shaking, I drag everyone into the Peace Hotel, which looks significantly tackier and cheaper than described, and inquired as to the jazz. Pointed in the right direction, we follow the "music" and enter what appears to be a poorly decorated beer hall filled with tank topped Germans and Koreans who have their picture taken with their waiters. A band made up of 90 year old Chinese men plays "In The Mood", as we check in and our shown to our table, front and center. First of all, I feel like an idiot walking in there dressed so fabulously. But, that was the least of our problems. Just as we sit down, a dreadful, middle aged, Maitre'd appears out of nowhere and screams, "No. You no sit here. Table reserved. You move. Come with me."
"Wait." We say. "What are you talking about? That woman sat us here. We made reservations."
"No, table broken. You sit here." He motions miles away, to the back of the cellar. I think I saw a rat scurry across the floor as I get in his face and say, "Go talk to that woman. We made a reservation. " He runs off to the front desk and returns. "Me so sorry. You go back and sit."
Like assholes, we walk in front of the band again and sit back at the origional table.
All a little wierded out, especially as this huge scene was made about us, we attempt to order drinks. As they have no wine by the glass and I'm pissed, I have an Evian. Dad attempts to order a Santori, because, "for relaxing times, make it Santori time", but is brought a Gin and Tonic instead. The music is dreadful, compounded by the fact that they have a laminated set list on the table. Songs include, "Denny Boy" and "My Heart Left in San Francisco." Typos aside, other songs consisted of favorites like "La Cucaracha" and and "Mambo #5".
"This isn't jazz." whispers Alex. No fucking shit. The trumpet punctures my eardrum, and we agree to down our drinks and get the fuck out of there.
In the cab, we all decide we need a real drink, and Alex and I insist we go to Mezz. John is delighted to see us, and immediately brings Alex's beer and my wine. Dad gets his Santori and mom, needless to say, has Chardonnay. We're having a lovely time, listening to real jazz, when John nervously comes up to the table. "You such nice family. It so good to see you and serve you. I want to give you special gift." He's holding a red velvet box, with gold embroidery on top saying, "St. Regis. Shanghai." "I present to you." he states looking at me, and he hands me the box. On the spot, with Alex stiffling hysterics, I open said box to reveal gorgeous chocolate truffles.
"Oh, John. That's so sweet. You're so nice. How lovely." He kind of smiles, and then sprints away. My family can barely stand it, they find this so funny, but I dive into my chocolates and curse the Peace Hotel. The Mezz Lounge is awesome. When we finish our drinks, John returns again.
"You from America, yes? You know the television, uh, Growing Pains?"
And then, the most fabulous event occurred. He pumps his fist and screams, "Michael Seaver!"
Seriously. That's brilliant. Alex goes, "You know Boner?"
"Oh Boner! I like Boner."
We laugh, get up to leave, and say, we'll be back tomorrow.
"Oh no. I no here tomorrow. So sad. I no see you."
Dad shakes his hand, which sends him into bliss, and I consider hugging him. Rethinking that maybe that's not the best idea, I thank him profusly and leave.
I think it's safe to say, drop my name at the Mezz lounge, and they'll take care of you.

4 comments:

Christine said...

Beth,
Some of the similarities to China and San Francisco are striking. I can't really afford a trip to China, but am thinking of staying at the HoJo in SF Chinatown and really getting into it - grooving on that skanky crowded asian vibe. and of all the things...Growing Pains.. How ironic in one of the most overpopulated countries in the world.

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