Feed on

beijing roast duck reigns

In Melbourne it’s become sacrilegious to complain about rain. Victorian water catchments were only recently a dismal thirty percent capacity. Water restrictions were imposed, the kind that change your vernacular. Gone were the gripes about ‘bloody rain’ ruining your day to be replaced with slope-shouldered resignation, “Well… we do need a good soaking”. And anyone who dares to scowl at a rain cloud now receives a curled-lip sneer— You can’t complain about the rain.

But I want to complain. I want to complain that the Melbourne sun had punk’d me into believing summer had arrived a little early, only to disappear by the time we had turned onto Batman Avenue. The morning’s blue sky had turned all shades of miserable grey as we skirted the Yarra River into the city.

My husband, however, remained defiant of the drizzle. He had something special planned,
“Get dressed up.” He’d said. “I’m taking you out for lunch.”

We turn into Queen Street. I spend my time peering between the steady swish of the windshield wipers trying to work out where we’re going. My husband pulls the car up close to the curb, he says, “Out, out—damn rain.” It takes me a second to realize that he is referring to me and was not making up some Shakespearean-rain-joke. I open the door, check for puddles and step over to the pavement. He takes off, chivalrous as ever, to look for a car park.

In front of me is a Chinese restaurant. The first of the renowned Beijing roast duck restaurants to be franchised in Australia. I walk under the famous three character sign and peer inside. The décor is as expected. Tourist authentic. Polished wood, red and golden accents, snowy linen. They proclaim to be the experts in Peking Duck. One duck is eighty-eight dollars. Lucky number eight.

I look back at Queen Street. She is dignified even under the steady drizzle. No one is huddled under awnings. People walk with purpose carrying on with their business. I know exactly why I’ve been taken here. Through the curtain of rain Queen Street blurs.

Suddenly I’m back in China.

Read part two here

Leave a Reply