The birthday we did’nt celebrate

Adele is this super cute russian girl whose birthday was last week on Thursday. On Open Mic Night! We met through my friend Lisa, who I met through my friend Ryon, who I met at a Restaurant Bar in Wudaoying, called Stuff’d. It was a crazy hot saturday after a Hex Object rehearsal at The Snake Pit sometime early summer, me and the singer Finn wanted to make better with their Arrow Brewery drafts. A few months later, Ryon had introduced me to a bunch of people, one of them being Lisa. The two of them left together one day, but first she wanted to go have her last weekly meal of Fish n’ Chips at First Floor in Sanlitun.

First floor

Every Monday after 6 PM they cut their whole menus prices in half, so it attracts a lot of people. Pastas, subs, burgers, spring rolls, lasagne, salads. You name it. But, they are short on vegetarian, especially vegan options. During football season, First Floor shows all games on a big projector outside, which is quite awesome.

Their food and their staff gets lovelier by the year. I know this for a fact beacuse about 3 years ago it was quite shit, but it was the one place that was always open and you could smoke inside. Me and Alina had an epic evening of 90’s songs there with Jonathan Ellis, drummer from Bye Bye Kitty, as the DJ.

How I met Adele

The Fish n’ Chips weekly tradition was something Adele and Lisa did together. For their last supper I joined too! We got drunk ofc, then headed to The Local for drinks. Kenn is the best host in Beijing, so ofc, he came around with free shots. Shortly after we were sitting outside on a bench somewhere singing along to some Miley Cirus’s Backyard Sessions. This is where Adele and I noticed that we will be buddies even after Lisa has left.  Our friend  had’nt been sleeping properly the past few days, since she wanted to party with her friends before leaving. Making her pass out within minutes with her head in my lap, while Adele was singing. 10 minutes later, we put her in a cab.

Adele and I headed to the dirty barstreet dividing Sanlitun South from North, for midnight Kebabs. Then Cafe De La Post on Yong He Gong Da Jie to see if anybody was out. Ofc not, it was freaking Monday. Cafe De La Post attracts a lot of 20-25 year olds, so I feel old there. My people is more 25-35. We made ourselves comfortable outside on the steps, drinking the same Hoegaarden we’ve had in hand since Sanlitun. There is a crazy loud incredibly dark and super smoky bar where no foreigners go, just opposite but slight North of First Floor. Thats where we got them. When sitting outside the joint for a smoke, this guy came up asking interrogational questions. Which is not that uncommon. Where you from? What do you do? Do you speak Chinese? How long you been here? How long will you stay? It was obivious he just wanted foreign friends but lacked any genuine interest. Sometimes to some locals, the idea of a foreign friend is cool – so we are being very objectified at times, especially as girls. An oppurtunity to get rid of him served itself when a bullshitter came up talking about how his hostel wont allow him to stay the night, because his bank wont have the money in until tomorrow morning. Hostels do not opperate like this. Usually you pay when checking out. We knew it was bullshit to get money from us, but our guy didnt, so he started digging around in his pockets to help him out. This is when we nodded, smiled and left. Leaving the opened bottles of Budwesier brought outside for us, untouched.

Rule nr 1 for barlife anywhere: Never drink out of a bottle that a stranger has opened for you.

On the steps outside of Cafe De La Post, our bums got cold and we started moving through the hutongs towards Jiaodaokou, ending up at the Meishu Guan Kuan Jie intersection where she got in a cab. The walk there was beautiful. We were talking about her grandmother most of the time, and I was in tears when she spoke about how the students she had been teaching years ago, arrived at her funeral. From her grandmother, Adele learned to always do everything to everyone out of love. Yelling at people for treating you unfairly, is never the solution.  Even, and especially, when fighting with you friends or family. But also when a stranger is cutting in line or driving like an idiot. Always, speak from a place of love.

Her grandmother passed away 3 years ago, on her birthday. This makes it hard to celebrate. To eat cake and go out dancing. Even if she knows her granny would not want her to stop celebrating her birthday, she just is’nt ready yet and that’s ok.

So when her birthday came around I was happily surprised she wanted to come out and have dinner at 4 Corners, and better yet, it was on Open Mic Night! My luck is amazing sometimes. AND! It wa’snt just A Open Mic Night, it was the Introduction of the new host Open Mic Night. It was a slow night with  very few uests due to the holidays coming up, giving Jukka a good chance to get comfortable, and Adele and oppurtunity to sing Pink Floyd on stage, with no reason to be nervous – since she was just among friends.

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