Muschamp Rd

Power, Books, and Beers

January 2nd, 2006
Wu Dao Kou map

After regaining electricity and a working stove I eventually I went to Lush for dinner. I had a Leffe, but not a Blond they had switched to the Brown, I don’t even think they know. They may have also raised their prices on their chicken burger, either that or I was overcharged. I didn’t raise a fuss because it was like 5 RMB and Chinese is not my forte. One day I’ll have to try Chimay and Leffe back to back. I definitely like the Blond over the Brown.

After dinner I wanted to go to the local grocery store but it was closed. Turning around one of the street vendors caught my eye. He was selling books and sure enough he had some titles in English. I have never bought anything from a street vendor in Wu Dao Kou. He said something in Chinese and pointed to a book. Curious to see what book he wanted me to buy I had a closer look. He had put his finger on the spine of “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

This is a book I’ve never read but am familiar with from my nihilistic quotations collection. I asked him how much he said 35 RMB, I offered him 30 he insisted on 35. I pulled out exactly 30 RMB and held it out, he said 35 one more time then took my money.

Upstairs at Lush while settling up I noticed a Dan Brown novel on the bar. The back cover had numerous typos and spelling mistakes. The Dostoevsky book had no spelling mistakes or typos and even had a UPC code and the price was listed in US dollars and Canadian dollars just like back home. It was shrink wrapped so hopefully the interior is of similar quality.

I had sworn off Russian family sagas after reading “Dr. Zhivago”.

However, I had recently finished reading my first non-business non-school related book in a long time, “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress“. I had bought it on a whim in Shanghai. It was refreshingly slim. One of my many complaints about Dr. Zhivago is it is too long with too many characters with difficult (for me) to pronounce and differentiate names. This Chinese/French novel is about a girl and two guys and not everyone lives happily ever after. It didn’t change my life or anything but at least it isn’t predictable and is actually quite original considering the subject matter, which is I guess a love triangle.

Update: I took this book back to Canada and years later ended up reading “The Brothers Karamazov” while sleeping on the floor in East Van. It changed my life. There was supposed to be two sequels but Dostoevsky died.

Picasso said:

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.

But it takes more than a day to write an epic Russian family drama. I feel I’ve wasted most of the last 10 or 15 years of my life, but it is hard for me find and keep a good job and some days it was a struggle just to get out of bed.

Now I’m doing slightly better, I’m still unemployed and updating this blog, but at least I passed all my CFA® exams and by updating all these old blog postings who knows I may finally get that better career experts always promise.


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