Sunday, June 1, 2008

What's New in the Neighborhood

Though you wouldn't really know it if you read my blog, there IS more to my life than making snarky comments about the New York Times and the occasional Ayn Rand joke.

I've been quite an active little social climber, recently, thanks to a few great "portal" friends and an abundance of time left on my hands with Chernobyl in Europe. (She just called me from Paris; she says the hotel-staff all speak English and the weather in London sucks).

Accompanying the disturbingly talented and thoroughly good-hearted Juan Hu -- a young software/media entrepreneur that found me on the streets (actually, in a book store) -- I've had the pleasure of hanging out with Dalian's elite crowd: business big-wigs, CEOs, lawyers, TV producers, anchormen, famous soccer stars, and other people-of-various-interest.

At the same time, I'm continuing my relationship with the art crowd; I had lunch in the burbs the other day with my professor friend and the crazy-modern-artist-in-the-woods that lives in a hobbit hole he built with his own hands. My other artist friend introduced me to his Kung Fu master recently (a little disappointing), and my schedule is busy enough that I actually have to turn down invitations to the events like the "modern film salon" or the "Buddhist nun delivers lecture on karma to the Dalian Millionaire's Club."

I'm at the point now where I'M becoming a "portal"... helping introduce small business owners to media companies to school administrators to painters and poets. Which a great feeling in and of itself, of course.

But the inflated sense of self-importance aside, the best part of all this high-brow elbow-rubbing is...........
The food.

My lawyer friend has an affinity for 5-star dining, so there's lots of chocolate at the Swiss Hotel and Japanese/Western at giant glass restaurants on elevated levels of towers looming above the city. The crazy-artist's patron is the president of a successful real estate company, and he treated us all to a seafood feast of giant prawns, squid, whole steamed crabs, braised fish, and the highly sought-after sea cucumber.

Despite it all, I try my best to keep it real... last night I put all aside and rode the bus out to the city skirts to chow down on some home-made dumplings at my friend's house. Gourmet is gourmet, but still ain't nothing taste as good as a juicy, pork-and-cabbage boiled dumpling.


Now, then, it's round about midnight. Before bed I have to prepare for a project training I'm delivering tomorrow morning, research a hot stock tip, and watch another couple episodes of "No Place to Put Our Youth," the latest Chinese TV-drama I've become enamored of.

What a weird and wonderful world.


Anonymous said...

so you really are crazy about dumplings uhh?

kinda jealous...

赵晨威 said...

no kidding! when I go to beijing in august I'm going to tell everybody 我是大连人. If they don't believe me, I'll settle for 我是新疆人.


Mark Carver said...

I'd take home-made dumplings over a swanky restaurant-ed meal any day. The Chinese matriarchs know how to thrown down in the kitchen.