Back in force
Happy to see our Old China Hands lunch 5 August reaching again 35 attendants. We still had to keep the strict door checks for the negative COVID test. Sadly one of our most regular members was refused entry as his test was 5 days, the test he had done the previous day did not show the result, most probably as they did not enter his data correctly. We are not being “despotic”: police has installed equipment that checks if people entering scanned – and the health status.
Sorry Terry, we missed you.
Anyway everybody happy, the food was great as always, see some of the dishes here – Russian egg salad, fricandeau, piccata Bolognese, red snapper filets, and pancake with fruit.
I always eat too much during those lunches, but in the evening I still needed to discuss with Chef Renaat.
I had the gratinated goat cheese and we were surprised with each a half waffle!
Our star of the month
This time the focus is on Raja, probably the oldest “Old China Hand”, he beats me by far.
He found a picture of us, date unknown but somewhere in the eighties.
Raja Magasweran is originally from Sri Lanka. See the documentary about him:
“Bond With China – China Fate – My career is in China”.
《中国缘 | 我的事业在中国》20210822完整版
Dated 22 August 2021 as I understand.
Watch the full version here.
I had the pleasure to meet his family several times.
These are still difficult times and we had to skip two lunches with all the COVID mess. The Old China Hands lunch 1 July had finally 20 participants.
For the lunch there were strict requirements; tables of maximum 8, negative COVID test in the Health app (max. 2 days). temperature control. All enforced by myself at the door.
Pretty weird as I had about 7 last-minute cancellations, most by people having stomach problems (not COVID!).
Food by Renaat Morel was great as always. Found myself back for dinner to taste the beef stroganoff (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_Stroganoff ) and have drinks with a French friend, married to a Philippine lady and who works for a Belgian company… I then learned we are actually neighbors…
Our star Mark Levine
As I said already, Mark is all over the media and most probably the most featured of our group. I already introduced him earlier, “Old China Hands stars”.
Well here some more about him. Read the articles to know more about him and his China story.
He sadly could not make it to our 1 July lunch.
See the pic with the famous and much loved Thai Princess when he handed her a copy of his book in The Bookworm. Date: 8 April 2017. The Princess has been a frequent visitor to China. Pictured in the middle is Peter Goff, former Rotarian and former owner of The Bookworm.
RIP The Bookworm
That place was forced to close, sadly. It was a library, coffee shop, book shop and the center for cultural and literary events. So many memories of meetings and events there…
I mentioned the closing earlier.
Here some pics of the great place we miss so much.
It was also reported in the SCMP on 15 November 2019.
In late 2019 we had a nice evening in “Lenore’s Bar – never Leaving”. Well sadly Never Leaving left Beijing, I guess another victim of greedy landlords, crazy rents and COVID.
Location was at the former Hacker-Pschorr on Xindong Lu, a bit north of Jingkelong Supermarket. That place must be bad karma, as Hacker-Pschorr went bust before, a huge investment (many million euro) wasted because of totally incompetent Chinese management.
The amount of bars and restaurant closing in Beijing is staggering, made worse with the COVID tragedy.
It was a nice place
Actually I liked the place, the interior was attractive, the service was trying its best even as it was still new. Beer and food were all pretty OK. See the pictures.
I only felt sorry I did not have the chance to visit it more, but in early 2020 COVID came and you know the rest of the story.
There is a new kind of pub there but I did not explore it yet.
Cleaning up my pictures
I have been busy trying to clean up and reorganize my thousands of pictures. I managed to wade through 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018. Result is a first batch of “Looking back Beijing Rotary 2018”.
The year 2018 was a super busy year for me, trips to Indianapolis USA, the shooting of the Jialing River movie, great stay in Phuket, many events, seminars, parties…
Remarkable is the amount of events with Rotary and Rotaract. Our clubs were so busy. It is a bit sad to see the pictures and noticing how many friends left Beijing.
The President of the Rotary Club of Beijing was Russell Brown, later followed by Martin Glatz.
I feel proud to have been so involved with our two Rotaract clubs who were so active.
Buffet dinner at Morel’s Restaurant
On 13 January 2018 I organized a buffet dinner with the help of Rotaract volunteers who also took care of receiving the payments.
It was called “Rotaract & Rotary Meet & Greet & Drink”, the event was very well attended by both Rotarians and Rotaractors, see the pictures that talk for themselves. Sadly many have left Beijing… Some four presidents of our club attended!
We also had the induction of two new members (Robert Specht & David Boyle) by (then) President Russell, after a banner exchange.
More to come soon! Rotary Conference and Red Lantern Ball!
For several days invasion of CCTV4 in Morel ’s Restaurant and Café.
They are preparing a documentary about Renaat and his restaurant, to be shown worldwide. Not a surprise as Renaat has an impressive track record, see my previous post.
There were interviews with Renaat, Susan, with Renaat and myself. Then shooting in the kitchen, Renaat eating his famous fish soup, Willem eating mussels (poor guy, they were cold in the end), Renaat going to the market, Renaat in video call with Belgium, plus shooting pictures of some of the dishes… Several days to shoot, it seemed like never to end.
The crew seemed to think the restaurant was theirs, for once we were lucky as no customers were flooding in. And no any noise please!
I found the CCTV team not to be as professional as the BTV team I worked with recently, see earlier post.
Constant program changes, new questions, and again new questions, failure to be allowed to shoot in the market…
Annoying also: I had my CHIMAY polo shirt with a small logo, I thought cool because it’s a famous Belgian beer and we are in a Belgian place. No no no, no any logos allowed. No showing of beer brands. Not even to mention the concerns of self-censorship and related.
Working with Chinese media can be a real pain and frustration. And nothing we can do about it.