No, I haven’t made a sudden trip to Europe, though in some ways it seemed like it. On the first Saturday of December every year, the German Embassy in Beijing holds a holiday celebration. I missed it last year, but not this time.
I had to go to the office for a while in the morning, but finished what I had to do around 12:30 or so and took off. After dropping off my computer at home, I walked to Germany, which isn’t far from Seasons Park. It was hard to miss – it was the place with the big line of people waiting to get in.
I emailed JW that I was waiting in line, since I didn’t know if he was inside yet. I knew KW had been there for a while. When I was about halfway to the entrance, JW arrived. He called his wife, and she said she was waiting in the bratwurst line. He told her to get a couple extra, mustard only.
When we got to the gate, we could see KW waiting with our sausages. Embassy staff glanced at our passports (we were entering foreign soil after all) and we came in. The sausages were still warm. KW led us toward the beer stand.
For ¥50, you get a German beer in a logo mug that you can take home with you, or you can get the ¥25 deposit back by returning the mug. We all kept them.
CL showed up after a while, and we greeted him at the gate with more bratwurst. Here they are in the courtyard after a visit to the dessert table. Note JW’s bulging coat. He’s got about a half dozen beer mugs stashed in various pockets.
In the lobby – the warmest part of the whole place that we were allowed to go – there was a woman playing an organ. I suppose it must have been Christmas music, but I honestly couldn’t tell.
Say hi to the girls at the Getränke stand. As we walked past one time, they all started singing “Jingle Bells” in English. They didn’t seem to know the verses, only the chorus, which was fine by me.
It’s some kind of charity thing, with proceeds going to some Beijing area organizations. How’s that for a way to make people feel better about standing in the cold drinking beer?
As celebrations of Christmas go, this one beats last night. I went to a popular dim sum restaurant with a couple of coworkers, and the staff all wore Santa hats. For music they played “Here Comes Santa Claus” over and over and over. Good thing the place was so crowded and noisy, or it would have driven me to do something that might have got me kicked out of the country.