Gongti strip to disappear

The verdict

I knew this was coming through my contacts: the gongti strip to disappear, along with all bars, discos, restaurants and shops in the Worker’s Stadium area. I called it the “gongti strip” as we have the Las Vegas Strip. At night the street becomes total chaos with cars blocking each other, girls in mini miniskirts, a procession of the most expensive cars. Traffic police permanently on holiday.
It is planned all will disappear by the end of the year, including Legend Beer.
See:
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/vxjW_OXK7Fwmx_NHFOnOdg

Construction crews already set up their quarters and they have started work.

Memories

So many famous locations of the Beijing nightlife:
VICS, MIX, Tubestation, Club Sirteen, Bellagio, Heaven Supermarket, Lantern, Elements, KTVs, name it.
See some here as they are still in place, also a few of the many venues inside the stadium area.

Some historical facts of the area:
Gongti Turns 60: A Look Back at the Stadium’s Moments in History
theBeijinger 4 August 2020
https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/ddiOU98_p4BCzig_cdvk7Q

However there is a mistake in the overview. The first concert was not at all in 1999. One of the first I actually attended myself in 1985, the performance by Wham! (George Michael), the first Western band to perform in China as the country began to open up after the Cultural Revolution, an hour-long concert for 15.000 people.
See:
https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/2057286/george-michael-china-how-singer-made-it-over

See an overview of the articles: 200803 endofera

Sterile city

It is supposed to be to be a major renovation of the Worker’s Stadium and the surrounding area, and as far as I understand also to build a new subway station. I am afraid it will be a sterile and funless new gongti.

The former “Gongti Yibai”, the formerly biggest indoor bowling area in the world (100 lanes) has been transformed over the years in a huge complex of discos, KTV and more.
With all the government much criticized clampdown on “illegal structures”, leading to massive destruction of shops, restaurants and bars, the government never dared to touch the KTV and other who simply took over the huge underground parking, to build their venues. License? You bet. I guess some got very well rewarded for ignoring this “illegal construction”. I dare anyone to show me the legal go-ahead!

Many nice bars and cafes have been closed in the hutongs and in Sanlitun. It seems some are coming back as new discos, even now they are filled to capacity with a massive dancing crowd. And that during “COVID time”. Social distancing? Hahahaha. Even Club Sirteen on the Gongti Strip is still full blast in the night. Well, for the time being. (click to view the video clip)

200808 sirteen

Sometimes one cannot understand how the Beijing government works.

Rotarians meet in Beijing

Informal meetings

After months of restrictions due to the virus, Rotarians meet in Beijing again for informal meetings and simple social events.
Many of our members are locked out of China; especially our Rotaractors have a tough time as many are students or professors/teachers, unable to return.
We did restart with some modest lunches and dinners just to meet each other.

Hilton “BBQ”

Initially on 28 July we had planned an outdoor BBQ in the Hilton (3rd East Ring Road) but due to possible rain the hotel gave us the restaurant on the 2nd floor for our private dinner.
It was also the handover from the 2019-2020 team to the 2020-2021 team.

I managed to bring in some more young people who were able to mingle with the Rotarians.
Good service of the Hilton staff left everybody happy!
We had so many nationalities present, too many to mention…

A farewell dinner

Sadly in Beijing people come and go. One of our past presidents of the Rotary Club of Beijing is leaving us, as he got a new assignment in Europe.
One of our “core members” organized a small dinner at her home, to say farewell to our members leaving us. Our host did a wonderful job, so much delicious food, drinks and we even had a mini KTV session, revealing some hidden talents among our members.
I took part with a Rotaractor to help out for the service, we dressed in our Rotaract uniform!

We all hope we can slowly get back to normal to do our “service to the community”! Most of our projects are for children in need.

Old China Hands Lunch 3 July

Back again

Another Old China Hands Lunch 3 July after the virus outbreak. Attendance was up with a total of 22.
Members blocked abroad and unable to return “home” are still close to 30.
Some are to give up on China for good, with their business, family life and social life wrecked. Beijing authorities don’t care and there is no end in sight for the misery, while Shanghai seems to to be looking for solutions.

Next lunch

Planned for Friday 7 August. Hopefully no “unexpected problems”.

Old China Hands Lunch 5 June

Back again

Old China Hands Lunch 5 June marked our second lunch after the virus outbreak. Attendance was still pretty modest for several reasons: we were 17. All in all not too bad.
I have tried to have an idea about how many of our members are blocked abroad and unable to return “home”. Well, it is not a nice picture with close to 30 of our usual attendants unable to return; probably there are more, some did not yet reply to me. As I mentioned earlier, I expect many to give up on China for good, with their business, family life and social life wrecked. Chinese authorities couldn’t care less and there is no end in sight for the misery. China is losing many friends, that’s for sure. Really sad.

 

See the dishes I chose. The restaurant is now also well known for its collection of fresh flowers, done by Susan.

Next lunch

Tentatively planned for Friday 3 July.
All of Morel’s Restaurant staff has been tested for the virus and the restaurant is regularly checked by the hygiene department. As the restaurant observes all regulations strictly, they are one of the locations still allowed to operate.
I also must stress again to our members that the restaurant is giving us a very special deal and they should respect that. You are expected to pay for any extras. If you don’t like it, you go somewhere else.

iMAC G4 CD tray

CD tray does not open

I still use this old but beautiful iMAC for some software and to read small CD sizes that new MACs do not accept anymore (you need to place them on a tray). But the iMAC G4 CD tray refused to open.
A few years earlier we managed to repair the screen backlight years ago (mentioned in my book TOXIC CAPITALISM).
I needed to read a small size CD and realized the tray got stuck. There were some faint click-clacks but that was it.

The solution

Out of desperation I poked around the tray, trying to pull it out, with the lid opened. Finally I pushed inside the white plastic (see pic 4), which “clicked”, see pic 5.

 

Then with the keyboard I opened the tray that slides out.
Simple, works…