Suyoupenging in Beijing
|Ying Ying and four of her friends (all You Peng fans, of course!) stood at the door, laughing and chattering excitedly in Mandarin. None of them speak more than a few words of English. Most of my meagre Chinese vocabulary (which I had not used much in the past few weeks, for shame!) went flying out the window. It didn't matter at all. When I remembered enough manners to gesture to the chairs and say "qing zuo" they were all mightily impressed (ha!).
We communicated as usual through gestures, flipping through my dictionary, waving around photos of You Peng, scribbling bits of pinyin, and laughing. I pulled out my shopping treasures, including copies of OK Magazine (with SYP on the cover, looking particularly tasty) that I scored in a kiosk a few days before on one of my walks. They had two copies and I wiped them out. Zhao Hong put on a mini-play with my shadow puppets, reminding me of the scene in YMHJ.
|International communication is not so hard ...|
|Ying Ying handed me a copy of the May TrendsHealth with the spread on the anti-depression campaign, along with (to my total shock) an autographed copy of You Peng's new single "Da Bu Liao." It was no easy feat obtaining this; once again Ying Ying's generosity astounds me. (I wish we were better able to talk directly, as I suspect she is very droll and sharp-witted.)
|They all write down their names for me in pinyin (very helpful!) and we chatted a bit about our various jobs. Ying Ying works in the post office (I think she used to teach); Zhao Hong in a publishing firm. This reminded me that I brought copies of the little Su You Peng Primer I put together to bring on my trip as a reference for drama and song titles. Once I got started on this project, it evolved into a pretty decent collection. I added a bunch of lyric translations (most done by moonstruck), just in case I found time to try to learn to sing some of my favorite songs. Yeah, right.
Anyway I pulled these booklets out and showed them around; all of the fans liked them so much I gave away all the copies I had with me. Then they all asked me to sign them, which was pretty funny but quite flattering. I also had some chocolate and fruit & nut packets that I offered as gifts; we brought these to dinner and shared them around.
Denniallee and another fan, Mable, arrived around seven as planned; she brought two copies of the new car magazine, with another SYP photo spread, that Flo had requested via email. Poor Dennial was stuck with heavy translation duties for the evening, but she didn't seem to mind; we agreed that I would contact international fans and coordinate our participation in a birthday gift project for YP.
We headed out to find a restaurant within walking distance, first corralling one of the hotel staff into taking some group photos in the lobby. We tried one restaurant just down from the Merry Mart but decided against staying. I'm not sure if anybody knew where we were headed, but the nine of us wound up in a private room in a very crowded local establishment ("very famous restaurant," I was told) specializing in Peking duck. Much better Peking duck, I will add, than our CCSF group's dinner, even without the presentation bits. In addition to the duck dishes, my friends ordered another dozen or so courses, ranging from apple chunks with whipped cream ("salad") and sliced lotus root to spicy duck feet, a raw fish dish very similar to Hawaiian poke, and donkey meat served with vegetables in an iron skillet. Everything was delicious.
The fans walked me back to the hotel, many fond farewells. It was very nice of them to take time to visit with me, and I enjoyed meeting everyone (and seeing my good friends again).
|Beijing Su You Peng fans come for a visit|
|The next day was my final one in Beijing, and I took a morning walk as usual, then back to the hotel for my noon "strip and veg" period cooling down with a few more episodes of YTTLJ. Then I headed out to buy some shoes. As with most of the "normal" retail stores I wandered into, this shop specializing in sports goods (mostly shoes) was pretty much deserted. I wandered about, stealing sidelong glances at the SYP posters on the wall, and finally grabbed the sole pair of Mingzus on the shelf. Each pair of display shoes was wrapped in plastic. Amazingly, these fit me. I have no idea whether they had anything else in stock, so good thing! 140 RMB (about $20); the Merry Mart, or any of the sidewalk blanket sellers, certainly had cheaper sneakers, but these were Mingzu! I told the salesgirls I was a Su You Peng fan. They were young and subdued, probably shy and probably confused by this weird American woman trying on men's shoes. But they gave me a box and a bag with SYP's photo from the ad campaign the box was a big beat up so maybe I got the last pair of shoes. Hard to tell. The BJ fans told me to take a picture of the store posters, but I think the salesgirls misunderstood and maybe thought I was asking for an actual poster (I figured this out later) and said no. Da bu liao! I said thanks and took my new treasures back home.
|above: The local shoe mart
right: I admire my new Mingzu shoes
(and the box they came in)