Wednesday, March 23, 2022


No, I haven't yet tried the new place up at the intersection next to the bus stop. It's still too crowded, and I'm waiting till they hit their stride. Instead I went to an old familiar place for lunch. 蒜蓉焗龍脷 ('suen yong guk lung lei'). 飯 ('faan'). 湯 ('tong'). 港式奶茶 ('gong sik naai cha'). Garlic baked sole. Rice. Soup. Hong Kong milk tea.

Jack came in for roast chicken while I was eating. We talked about old places. The ABC (ABC大餐廳 'aai bi si daai chaan teng'), which used to be on Jackson Street, closed five years ago. Sun Wah Kue (新華僑餐廳 'san waa kiu chaan teng'), which hasn't been around for a quarter of a century. King tin (擎天酒樓 'king tin jau lau') on Washington Street, now some kind of Hunan joint, where once the Universal Cafe (寰球酒家 'waan kau jau kaa') stood.

[新華僑 = New overseas Chinese. 擎天 = Upholding heaven. 寰球 = Domain globe, region sphere; the world.]

I first met Jack when all of those places still existed.
He looks a little older now than he did.
True for many of us.

Enjoyed my afterlunch smoke near Portsmouth Square, where I encountered Ah Choi, whom I've known as long as Jack. He still looks much the same, but like Jack and myself he's tinged with silver now. He looks more tired than he used to.
We are all fairly trim, grey edged, middle-aged. Thank heavens none of us look like the doofus who parks his BMW sportscar on my block, with man boobs and a jelly gut. Very many American men do not age well. It's all that beer and junkfood, plus the wear and tear of being pizza-snarfing greasy snack inhaling bourgeois alcoholic football fans, I guess.
Sorry, it had to be said. Y'all smell bad and eat too much.
Plus your mom dresses you funny.
After grocery shopping (mmm, crunchy snackipoos!) I had another cuppa and a pastry. At a bakery that first opened when Sun Wah Kue and King Tin were still around. The waitress still looks very much the same, no grey at all. After decades! One would almost think that Chinese women know the secret of youth OR which brands of hair dye are best.
But the latter thought assumes a cynicism I just don't have.

I am a kindly man and think the best of people.
Except for tourists and suburbanites.
But otherwise, total softie.
It's age.

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