A beijing Christmas.
I headed to the taxi, unsure of what my first Christmas away from home would be like. It was surreal, like so much of my life in the last year.
My taxi ride was the start of the weirdness. A huge London style taxi took me to Christmas lunch; sitting in the back seat felt like sitting on the pitch at the MCG, such was the space around me. Over an intercom my driver wished me a Merry Christmas, and then proceeded to play the song ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’ on repeat for the 30 minute trip…this was his Christmas song, he told me. Incidentally, when he wasn’t singing along he was answering phone calls from the home-style handset he had welded to the dashboard: seriously, a huge old school phone, with headset, cord and base.
I arrived for lunch, and my boss (and host) was at a meeting: on Christmas day. On Sunday. This is how business is done here…all the time, fuck your social life. After finding the place, I sat on the couch and listened to my bosses wife and another friend laugh at me in Chinese. I think they were laughing at me…I’m 80% sure. Actually, I’m 100% sure. Their dog humped my leg, repeatedly.
Lunch was amazing. We drank Moet, feasted on a huge, traditional Christmas meal capped off with dessert wine and chocolate mousse. I still feel full, 5 hours later. Periodically, we walked the humping dog outside, in the crisp winter air. The dinner conversation was split into English and Chinese: 50% of the time, I had no idea what was happening.
It was a wonderful, bizarre and completely different Christmas.