Old China Hands lunch 6 September

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

Old China Hands lunch 6 September was kind of back to normal after the sauna months. We were a nice 31, with many being too busy to attend.

The love story of Renaat and Susan

Well, they obviously also talk about Morel’s Restaurant. You will need a backdoor to view the clip here:
Watch this great clip about Renaat and Susan

You can also try this local link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ZGGlBkn-MDBRklFZdUeXLg

Or see the attached file: 190921 RenaatSusan

Our next lunch: a change!

I just returned from a 2-week trip to Phuket, so this goes out a bit late. Hopefully without any confusing errors.
Our upcoming lunch will be exceptionally not on the first Friday of the month as the restaurant is closed due to the October 1 holidays. Instead of cancelling we decided to have it on Friday 11 October. Take note! Renaat and Susan will not be back yet but the restaurant will be open.
Then it will be 1 November.

Old China Hands lunch 2 August

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

Old China Hands lunch 2 August saw fewer of our members, as expected. We were exactly 20 despite being a low-season sauna weather day. Not too bad anyway.

China Today

The journalists were there again as they had more to discuss with the restaurant, for another interview. In the meantime we got the first version of their video, I must say they did a great job. Footage is from our lunch on 5 July and from their visit to my office on 9 July.
See the new link: http://mp42.china.com.cn/video_tide/video/2019/8/22/20198221566447489029_386.mp4

Another longer version is in the pipeline!

Our next lunch: a change!

Our next lunch will be exceptionally not on the first Friday as the restaurant is closed due to the October 1 holidays. Instead of cancelling we decided to have it on Friday 11 October. Take note! Renaat and Susan will not be back yet but the restaurant will be open. I will also be away during the unpleasant October 1 restrictions, back on Monday 7 October.

Old China Hands lunch 5 July

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

Old China Hands lunch 5 July was rather quiet, as it in the middle of the expat holiday season. We were over twenty, still.

China Today

As you all could notice we had a team of journalists shooting movies and doing interviews, see the pics. That made our rather quiet lunch a bit lively… Victims were Greg, Bruce, Edwin, Terry, Renaat and myself.

The magazine and website are now called “China Today”, a well-known media outlet that comes in several languages such as English, French, Arab, Spanish and German. Formerly “La Chine en Construction”.

See: http://www.chinatoday.com.cn/ctenglish/index.htm

The team was from the French section, “La Chine Au Présent”.
Once I have the link to the video, I will distribute. They expect it to be published in late August.
A few days later they also came to my office for a longer interview, in French. I keep you posted!

Our next lunch

Join us for the sauna session on Friday 2 August. For the hardcore!

Human flesh search engine

What is that?

A human flesh search engine is a term invented in China, see the Wikipedia definition. “It relies on voluntary crowd sourcing: Web users gather together to share information, conduct investigations, and perform other actions concerning people or events of common interest.”

Without really thinking much, I launched such a search, unaware of what would happen.

It all started when I was looking with a Chinese friend at a picture, taken in 1981, of me and my Chinese secretary, Mr. Chen Jilun, at the door of the ACEC office in Beijing Hotel West Wing Room 5109.

We worked together till 1988 when I left for Hongkong. We kept in touch till 1995 (I guess) but then we lost contact as I moved from Beijing to Shanghai.

How to find my Monsieur Chen?

In those times there was no e-mail, no mobiles as today. He had been working for what was at that time a well-known company, “Friendship Company”, that was the sole supplier of staff for foreign companies. Obviously long gone and out of existence.

So I had no idea how to search. Then my friend said, let me try Douyin (the Chinese TikTok). So she posted the 1981 picture along with a recent picture of me and explaining a foreigner was looking for his old friend Mr. Chen Jilun, who was originally from Henan but living in Beijing.
See here the Douyin video:

190710 douyinvideo

I also gave her some more old pictures:

Then it went all wild. We had close to one million hits. People asked questions. Henan Radio and TV called me. My friend was panicking with the success.

Three days later she sent me a WeChat. “We found him!”. She sent me his mobile number. I called and he was already expecting my call…

I found Monsieur Chen

We were both so happy to make contact again.
He explained that actually six people in China had identified him and called him, and he authorized to pass on his number.

We had dinner!

As I suggested, we met for dinner in Morel’s Restaurant on Sunday 14 July. I asked my friend who did the Douyin to join us too.

Mr. Chen still looked much the same, while he is a few years older than me. He brought me a nice present, of course from Henan! See the short video:

190714 chenjilun3

We had a lively chat and will keep in touch, through WeChat, of course.

Human flesh search engine

Douyin hits

Many people that connected through Douyin wanted to see our reunion, so we posted several videos of our dinner, and a picture with chef Renaat Morel. See the Douyin overview with the numbers (units are w = 10,000).

Unique wine dinner

A gastronomic dinner

To enjoy my rather exceptional wine collection, I organize from time to time a unique wine dinner.
The recipe: tasting very old wines, supplied by me, accompanied by a gastronomic dinner feast organized and personally prepared by Chef Renaat Morel.
See the menu for the dishes and the wine list.

Participants are always carefully selected. This time, Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis (EU) and his wife, Ambassador Marc Vinck (Belgium) and his wife, along with Renaat, Susan, my wife and myself.
As it happens, I know H.E. Chapuis from the nineties when I was working in Shanghai for ALSTOM.
I was again asked for the “occasion”: did I become grandfather? I am since long, nope. It is simply to experiment unusually old wines along with exceptional food, and with nice company. It would be insane to open those bottles at home where I am the only one to drink.

The food and the wine

It was a unique wine dinner as I brought along two bottles of a very famous French wine, exactly one hundred years old. And a Rioja from 1963, plus a not so young Médoc.
See my tools; opening those bottles is pure surgery. Normally impossible to extract the cork without some mess. Then the wines were filtered and transferred to a decanter. See one successful “surgery”:

190626 winedinner

Only the Médoc cork came out nicely.

The verdict? The 1919 wines were just “drinkable” and as one said, tasted a bit like Chinese rice wine. The Spanish one was, as usual, pretty nice.
What counts is the unique experience to say, “I tasted a one-hundred-year old Chateau Lafite (Rothschild)”.

Now I am already thinking of the next wine experiment!