China Diary

Day 21: BYOB


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Production designer, a production assistant and DOP Mika Orasmaa digging through the latest concept artwork.

Mika left back to Finland for a week on Saturday, so on Friday we decided to throw a little party for him, as a thanks for the hard work he had done so far. The day went by slowly by scribbling more storyboards and meeting actors, and around 9 pm, we finally jumped on a car and drove to my so-far-favorite seafood restaurant in the … well, probably the whole world.

The place is crazy! It’s really local, so plastic table cloths and noisy atmosphere are a default. The food lies there in fish tanks – big lobsters, ugly-looking fish and endless selection of different type of clams.

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Almost waiting to hear one of them start talking in the voice of “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero: “You know I’ve been working with the government, right, Ton’? “

The tables have a built-in steamer in them: the waiter brings a bucket of whatever dish we are currently having – say, shrimps, that are of course still alive and kicking – and pours them in the steamer. Then, a lid is placed over, and the steamer hisses away for minute, and voilá, the food is ready!

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To get some more action to the dish, you dip it in a sauce you get to make yourself, and down it of course with a huge glass of Chinese white wine. And as I’ve told before, the white wine is definitely not a nice glass of perfectly chilled Chardonnay, but a plastic petrol canister filled with what we call “The Gasoline”. It’s 55% strong pure booze, which the production manager lugs around to every dinner we have (apparently the restaurants around here are BYOB – Bring Your Own Bucket), and me – as a director – I get a special treatment of full glass of white wine and am expected to drink it as well.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the amazing dinner and sent Mika back to Finland in style. For me, it was a relatively weekend ahead, which I had decided to take as easy as possible, because honestly, there’s no rest for the wicked here in China…

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