Tokyo Blond Is Not Porn

Tokyo Blond is not a porn blog, about hair or even, as one pithy friend remarked, a micro beer or late 1980s glam metal band ("Dude, I just saw Skid Row and Tokyo Blond opened and played a killer set").

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences in Tokyo - poignantly, visually, irreverently - for fun.

Anybody can tag along...that is if I like you. This blog will endeavor to be entertaining and honest and frequent enough to keep those following interested including me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

These Pillows?

I arrived in Beijing at 11:30pm Sunday evening.  My flight on American Airlines had been more tolerable than expected, which means the food was decent and I actually managed to sleep a little.  Basically I got two hours of sleep, in ten-minute increments.  I don’t usually sleep on airplanes, except on the tarmac.  For some reason the comforting hum of a 747's engines on pavement always lull me directly to sleep.  Of course I'm wide awake the minute the wheels leave the ground.

It was hot and humid and mosquitos sampled the new arrivals on the train to the terminal, as if wine tasting.  "California, anyone?"  I slapped them away sluggishly, still in a stupor from the long plane ride.

We weren’t the only plane arriving so late, so it was a mad rush to see who could get to immigration first. Well rush may be an overstatement given our dubious speed. In fact it was kind of comical - a mass cluster of travel zombies hebetudinously lumbering to get to the immigration line first, our eyes clouded and vacant, our thirst for sleep rampant.

Twenty minutes later I was through the visitors line and collected my bags from the carousel.  This was the part I had been dreading.  I had three bottles of wine in my suitcases, not to mention various sundries (got to have my Triscuits) and I was concerned about going through customs.  I shouldn’t have been.  There was no one there.  I could have brought three cases of wine and some vegetables, maybe even a blowtorch, and it wouldn’t have mattered.  Hmmm, note to self, always arrive around midnight.

Russell and our driver were waiting for me.  It was good to see them, especially Russell.  I had to stifle tears, like a sneeze in a quiet room.  It’s amazing how much I pretend I don’t need him when he’s not around, childhood habit I guess, but then how easily my resolve dissolves when I see him.  I noted the driver wasn’t wearing a uniform, or a cap.  Hmmmm.

The trip into the city center took 45 minutes, even though it was the middle of the night.  Our apartment building was located in the city center, in the most fashionable part of town called Sanlitun.  Our building was across the street from aptly named, "Workers Stadium."

The lobby looked like a W Hotel.

Nice lobby.
Where are the apples?

This the elevator bank.
Note how the floor matches the ceiling.

Russell took me on a grand tour of the one bedroom service apartment, proud of his selection.  It was brand spanking new.  You could still see the red grease pencil marks of the tile-layer on the walls of the bathroom.  The bathroom was nice, glass shower, marble bath, lots of chrome, no cabinets.  No cabinets?

Nice Sink.
Where's the linen closet?

At least there's a bath tub.

He showed me the ridiculously small washing machine which holds about a shoe box size load, the well hidden refrigerator which looks like a pantry closet and the complete lack of storage space.  He showed me the balcony with our two industrial size air conditioners.  “Two?  But it’s only a one-bedroom apartment?  Actually it’s barely one bedroom, separated only by a sliding pocket door and entertainment center.” 

“Yes, two”, he said.

No oven.  One pot.
Is that a Betty Crocker Ready washing machine?
And the dryer is?....

But the place had nice furniture, all dark wood tables, purple velvet couches, shiny chrome desk, and bamboo floors.  And he had bought some roses that had no smell but brightened the room.

At least there's wine glasses - the necessities.

Purple everywhere.
Thank you Prince.

TV in marble.

A room with a view.
Not bad.

He explained how he had to buy everything in the apartment except the furniture.  I thought maybe my sleep deprived mind had heard him wrong.  “What do you mean you had to buy everything, what do you mean everything?”  I thought this was a “service” apartment.  We already own all this stuff twice over now – in LA and sitting on a dock in Tokyo.

“Everything, “ he replied proudly. 

“Show me,” I said yawning, beginning to fade.

He showed me the two wine glasses (priorities), two plates and two sets of flatware, the humidifier, (humidifier?) the bath towels, the one pot, (what can I make with only one pot?) and the fluffy down comforter, bottom sheet and two pillows.  He'd made the bed and was as puffed up as the pillows.

“These pillows?” I said inquiringly, slowly sinking down onto the comforter.

“No, don’t do it,” he warned compassionately.

“This comforter?, this one here, with no bottom sheet?,” sinking still lower, crawling towards the pillows.

Tour over.

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