Monday, June 18, 2007

forget it, Jake

Yesterday G and I went to Chinatown. We browsed in the souvenir stores, marveled at how quickly the air could turn from sweet to stinky, and admired the handprints of Chow Yun-Fat, the Hong Kong action legend.

We were also fortunate enough to catch a demonstration thrown by the Chinatown Tourism Committee. I didn’t get pictures of the musician, unicyclist, or 10-year-old contortionist (who’s sure to be the most popular girl in high school), but I did get a few pictures with my cell phone of the following acts:

This woman did a number of balancing acts, including this one in which she balanced three eggs on her nose while simultaneously using a hula hoop and swinging rings---in different directions, no less!---around her arms. Afterwards, she cracked the eggs into a clear glass bowl so we could see they were real, and not magnetized or something.

The final act was a group of martial artists trained in Shaolin-style martial arts, and they were freakin’ awesome.

They used spears, whips, and something that looked like enormous steel maracas. Then one of them stood in the center of the square and the announcer said, “The following demonstration is extremely dangerous; please do not try this at home.”

The man squatted down and got a look on his face that looked as though he were getting ready to take an enormous shit. Then one of the other guys took a long stick, about the circumference of a broomstick, and broke it over the other man’s shoulder.

Um, ouch.

Then they broke even more sticks on the guy’s body, and for the grand finale, the man did a handstand and spread his legs. The crowd began to murmur, and G said, “Oh no, oh no, oh no.”


A piece of the broken stick flew at me, and I squealed and ducked over to the side. G stood up and angrily yelled, “Be careful, assholes, you almost hit my girlfriend!” The martial artists turned around slowly, and G muttered, “Whoops.”

"Watch my purse!" I barked, and I leaped into the courtyard. Ululating wildly, I punched a monk. He staggered backwards and fell onto the pavement. “Crouching Dipshit!” I shrieked, and with a swift kick, I sent another monk sprawling. Pow pow pow! I left them all rolling on the ground, clutching their sides and moaning, and I rode the swell of applause back to my seat.

…okay, those last two paragraphs are a lie. I did almost get beaned with a broken piece of crotch stick, but that’s about it. I could have totally kicked their asses if I wanted to, though.

After the show, G and I were starving and anxious to get out of the sun, so we walked across the street to a restaurant that had a sign on the front saying “Part of Rush Hour was filmed here!”

“Uh-oh,” I said warily.

“What’s wrong?”

“K and I ate here several years ago, and the service was really shitty. Plus it was about two hundred degrees in there and they would only give us ice water with our meal, and they were so crowded that they sat us at a table with two strangers who were finger banging each other under the table.” G’s jaw dropped, and I added, “But maybe it won’t be so bad this time.”

Yeah, um, so much for cockeyed optimism. We had been seated for at least fifteen minutes and we didn’t even have menus! I was starting to get really pissed off, because I was so damn hungry, and finally I said, “Screw this place, let’s go somewhere else.”

As we waited to cross the street again, G said, “Wow, that sucked.”

“I bet they didn’t make Jackie Chan wait for HIS fucking food,” I sulked. “And really, what kind of pull does Jackie Chan have in Chinatown anyway?”

Fortunately, our next choice, Hop Louie’s, served us promptly, and the food was delicious. My fortune read, “Soon a short stranger will enter your life.” Kind of sounds like a pregnancy fortune, doesn't it? But the only baby I had to worry about was the food baby incubating in my stomach, so I leaned back, burped, and smiled.