PART210 Seeing Zhaobing again in a Sichuan resturant


Friday, 27th, August, 2010. In
the afternoon Sarah and I met up with Zhaobing. He used to be one of the people
who goes around in big trucks and nick motorbikes and food stalls which are parked
in areas they should not be in. Possibly one of the most hated people in China.
He has twins and one of them has brain problems and motor skills difficulties.
His wife is a nurse in the local hospital. When we met him in his new work
building nearby he looked happy. He has just been promoted to hunting down
people who do not get planning permission for their buildings, it’s a promotion
and as he told us a much less stressful job. A much better job he says,
although now he works every day until 8 in the evening and he gets mobs of
disgruntled workers trying to attack him at work because he was shut down their
work. “We could not leave in the evening so we called the police” He laughed. I
wondered how bad his work before must have been.

 

We went to a Si chuan restaurant, a plain
big shabby room with old small tables and chairs dotted around and a huge silver
tub of water in the corner. Running along one wall was a long glass window
looking into the vast kitchen with a team of sweating women slaving over
flaming woks, lines of livid red spicy dishes. Dark chilies and almost black
salty meat. Zhaobing was surprised to see the restaurant boss there today, A
tall fat man from Si chuan province with a shaved head and a serious look on
his face “ He is always getting into fights with locals and he often has to run
away from his enemies so he isn’t here much” Zhaobing told us. The boss caught
my eye and bellowed out a gruff “HELLO” I saluted back friendlily, liking him immediately.
I had a large bowl of noodles, a spoonful of sugar on top and mountains of
ground chilly made the soup dark and menacing, looking more like an angry
volcano swamp than something to put in your mouth. My mouth watered profusely
as I smelt the delicious mix. Chicken feet, sweet spicy beef chunks with sesame
seeds sprinkled on and glass noodles for Sarah and Zhaobing. We drank Beijiu
but mean spirits are not the best combination to go with spicy food so I
brought a refreshing cool beer. I was sweating and my nose was running. I knew
I was enjoying the food but it was painful and hard work.

 

Zhaobing was talking at length to Sarah as
I battled with my meal. He was talking about all his woes. Not enough money,
always tired, stomach ulcer and now his thoughtless Mum is constantly pestering
him to have another child, a boy. Not only would this result in harsh prosecution
from the law, most it would probably get him fired and a heavy fine slammed on
his face but if he did actually get away with it then he would have even more
work and less money. His Mum has also been suggesting ever since their twin
with the disabilities was born that they get rid of her. The Mum offered to
take her to the coast and throw her in the sea. That isn’t a joke by the way.
If I was asked I would take his stupid Mum to the sea side and bury her small
mind in a sand castle until she turned stiff and purple. Zhaobing moaned and
moaned away and by the end of the meal Sarah was quite exhausted and relieved
that it was all over.

 

My abstinence from smoking was toughly
tested today when he gave me a very expensive packet of cigarettes and forced
me to light one. I took a puff, tightening in lungs and dizziness and then I
went outside to discreetly throw it away. He was really trying to make me start
smoking again. But I didn’t. We sauntered back home walking off the food and
wine.

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