I am completely stuffed after our dinner in Beijing at Ian’s favorite restaurant. I don’t remember the name but we were treated like royalty because one of his former students is the chef. Kelly, Carla and I ate at one table and Lisa and Ian ate at another.  Of course our main topic of conversation other than all the delicious food was the nature of love (They seemed completely unaware of us or anyone else. It was adorable). Between bites of sampling all the delicious food on our plates, we argued about whether it was a good thing that she met him or a shame since he lives half way ‘round the world and we’re leaving tomorrow.

Can Love Last?

Kelly, who’s a total romantic, believes that love always finds a way and that if they are destined for each other, then nothing will stop them. With my history, I’m a bit more realistic, or as Kelly would say, cynical. He’s definitely divine to look at and seems sincerely interested in her, but, really, how can it last? I realize email, Facebook and God knows what else have changed the landscape, but in my opinion it’s out of sight out of mind without some good old fashioned heat if you know what I mean.

Farewell Dinner in Beijing

Anyway, we discussed both food and love during a multi-course dinner that began with Peking duck, crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside with thin delectable pancakes. After our busy day, I could have eaten another duck by myself, but I vaguely remembered that Ian had told us to “pace ourselves.” The next course was “make your own” soup. We each got a mini cauldron filled with a delicious broth and then we added whatever we wanted to it (Mine had pork, beef, noodles, and veggies). The sauce had quite a bit of garlic and chilles along with sesame seeds. Divine. At that point I figured we were done, but no—there was more food! Dumplings, walnut prawns, rolls, ribs. I actually lost track and felt like I was going into a food coma but it was all so good. I think Ian was actually laughing at (with?) us since he had tried to warn us but we didn’t understand that when he said, “pace yourselves,” he really meant it! By the time we got to dessert—mango pudding, egg tart and cream cake—Carla and I literally had to unbutton our pants! All I can say is it was worth it, especially since we fly home tomorrow.

Thinking about Home

Leaving Lisa and Ian deep in conversation, the three of us finally left the restaurant and took a cab back to our hutong and hotel to pack. This is a big challenge since I already know I’m way over on my baggage allowance even though I’ve already shipped so much great stuff home. It’s going to be like Christmas at my house for at least a month as all my treasures wind their way to me! Kelly is already planning a big party in a few weeks to go through all our pictures with our families and share some of our favorite food (Dulce de leche, curry, and Turkish coffee will definitely be on the menu). I think that’s when I’ll let my secret out of the bag and introduce them all to Karl. They’ve only heard about one side of him, but he’s a real doll when he isn’t in court.  Maybe he can come wearing the new Turkish robe I bought for him –ha ha!

Next: Lisa’s Memories and Flying Home