Friday, July 24, 2015

Story of no signifiance - Pan-fried buns

My wife and I were at a river side eatery that served tea and pan-fried buns. The eatery was a wooden structure like those in traditional WuLin (武林) kung-fu movies where meals served for locals and WuLin people from different lineages, like ShaoLin, WuDang, and always some bad guys. The guys would meet, negotiate and fight, usually armed. Make interesting movies!

We love the city of Hangzhou where the famous West Lake resides. Unlike metropolitan Shanghai (some 30 minutes ride by high-speed train), the city is a leisurely town for tourists and locals. Indeed department stores there, like one opposite to our hotel (a refurbished old hotel called New YanAn, where YanAn was the breeding ground for Mao's Communist Party, and you know it is still government run) YinTai WuLin Department Store, do not have the latest fashion as those stores in Shanghai.  Whereas WuLin district is a central commercial and shopping district, its opposite, the area where our hotel is, the old Hangzhou still hangs on, though precariously. Next to our hotel, stands a street called Discipline Alter Temple Avenue 戒壇寺巷, as the name said, it once housed the old Alter Temple, its old site now stands a residential complex only with a rebuilt front façade with some Buddhist painting cursory drawn. Down the street is an old eatery famous for its pan-fried buns. A pan can fry some 80 buns together. In the morning, there stands a queue lining up for the buns, mostly take away. We love the buns, we love the ambience of the district conducive to easy musing of the poetic past, as in "the past is always poetic"...

When I looked down from the eatery, I realized that instead of a river that I expected to see, it turned out to be a narrow winding strip of deserted grassland. In it an old rusty track was laid. The autumn breeze was refreshing, and a boy was playing around the winding track. And we enjoy our tea and pan-fried buns. I saw nobody else, on the eatery and on the grassland below.

Our leisurely mood was however disturbed by a slow moving train running towards the area below us. It was slowly approaching the boy. I tried to alert him. "Watch out! A train is coming", I cried out. "How careless he is!" I thought. I was getting nervous because the slowly moving train was going to run over the boy. He was in imminent danger. But just before the train hit the boy, he casually stepped off the track. A close shot...."He was damned lucky!"

....I was playing alone in a grass field, catching grasshoppers or simply wandering aimlessly. Summer in Hong Kong is very humid, Autumn is the best season of the year. You can stroll around without really sweating. I came to a tunnel. Explored it and walked through with much delight. The tunnel was getting wider and the top part of the tunnel disappeared and I saw sunlight. "I don't like darkness!" The wall though remained there but the path was getting wider. Which was nice. And getting more winding, which created surprises because you never knew exactly what lied beyond a turn. And old rusty railway track appeared in a junction and I followed the track. I was delighted. Just when I turned a corner, I suddenly realized that a train was rushing towards me, at high speed. By instinct I stepped aside, the train nearly hit me, I sweated, in Autumn....

Me and my wife were in the eatery enjoying our tea and buns, I suddenly realized that I just had just seen myself.

Pan-fried buns

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