Watching the Redskins in Beijing
Following the principle that all WashingtonPost.com sports coverage is improved via use of the word "Redskins," I came up with the idea that I should find the Redskins game on television. The game started around 8 a.m. Monday Beijing time. I came up with this plan around 8:15 a.m. Beijing time. Good work.
It felt kind of like one of those "Amazing Race" challenges, except without the bickering sisters and charming gay couples. I dialed at least seven or eight sports bars, including Frank's Place, Bling, the All-Star Sports Bar and Grill and the Goose and Duck. Most seemed never to have heard of American football. I didn't bother trying to explain the preseason.
Finally, though, I had success with Durty Nellies, an Irish pub. They spoke great English. They knew what American football was. They promised they'd be showing Skins-Colts. The address said it was near a flower market.
An hour later, having gotten supposed directions in Chinese from the media transport desk, I was dropped off by a cabbie at a flower market. You can see it pictured above. The flower market wasn't yet open. There were no Irish pubs anywhere in sight, although I did see "King's Dental," "Adult Shop," "King's Garden Hospital," KFC, and, eventually, a 7-11.
I'd never been to a Chinese 7-11 before. Turns out they have a large grid-like container offering various brightly colored meats where the twirling taquitos and crusted over hot dogs are supposed to be. Also: no Slurpees. Completely wrong.
So here I was, in a random Beijing neighborhood, with no map and no address and no gringos in sight. Well, there was this map pictured on the right, but it didn't help much. Anyhow, the lesson is that you don't really need any planning in Beijing, because everything works out. Within a few minutes I had stumbled into a Renaissance hotel, and "Adam" from the Renaissance called Durty Nellies and figured out which flower market it was near, and he drew a little map, and I walked past the Lufthansa Center and the public toilet and the Bellaggio and Cigar Time ("Cigar Wine Champagne Music & You) and the public toilet (wow wow wow wow wow that smelled interestingly) and the Paulaner Brauhaus and then I arrived at Durty Nellies just in time for the fourth quarter.
Of course, the problem was that Durty Nellies doesn't actually get NBC. They get ESPN, Fox News Channel, MTV Philippines, ABC, Sky Sport, Solar Sports, National Geographic, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, CNN and Turner Classic Movies, but no NBC. So we watched the Phillies-Cardinals game and talked about Durty Nellies.
The clientele is 40 percent German, 30 percent American, 10 percent Chinese, and 20 percent other. The logo is tremendous. The house Olympic band is "The SMU," a German outfit whose motto is "Shakes Your Ass and Rocks Your Disco." Yes, I plan on going there for the Opening Ceremonies to have my disco rocked.
It turns out Durty Nellies is in a neighborhood that also features the Hard Rock Cafe, a Cold Stone Creamy, the South German Bakery, the Nashville Bar & Restaurant, the beach volleyball venue and an organic mart that sells Philadelphia cream cheese, Muir Glen tomato sauce, Earth's Best baby food Old El Paso refried beans, Louisiana Hot Sauce and dried figs from Woodstock Farms. Sort of makes you wonder what the point of coming to China is.
Anyhow, I hear the Redskins won. That's nice.
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