Me and Chairman Mao
  Would you like an Allen wrench with that?
Ikea is everywhere. This morning we got up and took a cab across town to Ikea to stock our kitchen. (Our apartment is new, so until this morning, our "kitchen supplies" consisted of two plates, a few tea cups, and some chopsticks.) Ikea was, well, Ikea--they even had Swedish meatballs in the Ikea restaurant. Everything else was pretty similar too, right down to the Ivar and Billy furniture selections. There were, of course, some unique things--don't think American Ikeas offer quite the same selection of chopsticks--but overall it was pretty standard. Oh, except the French press. I was so excited to have one that I bought it without really thinking about it, but when I got it home and tried to use it, I realized it was made to make tea, not coffee: the "holes" in the strainer are so gigantic that coffee grounds would just pass right through. Quel dommage.

Holly at Ikea

One thing I was wondering about is why no one ever gets up in arms about Ikea taking over the world, which they clearly are. Home-furnishing wise, anyway. I mean, people get mad about Starbucks and McDonalds, so why not Ikea? Seriously, if those clever Swedes have their way, everything will go the Ikea model, not just furniture. Think about it: next time you buy a car, it could show up in a box and require "some" assembly with an Allen wrench. Especially if it's a SAAB.

Last night, we did go to Mediterraneo, and it was really, really good: antipasto plates, wine, and--for me--pumpkin tortellini. The funniest thing about it was that, at one point, everyone eating or drinking in the place was a foreigner (that is, American or European), so it was like being, well, anywhere: Seattle, New York, Chicago, wherever. Well, until the bill came, which was about a quarter of what it probably would have been in the States. Yes, my life here is very hard.

We also did go to Sanlitun North, to a place called Cloud 9 that's supposed to be one of the best bars in the city. It was very cool: three levels, red walls, dark lighting, a live band, and a bartender that knew how to make real drinks. (Apparently--according to a local guidebook--if you go to the wrong places you can get a martini that is nothing more than a glass of vermouth. Yum.) Plus it had--here it comes--girls in miniskirts! Sadly, they weren't clapping, but you can't have everything. They were actually just there as walking advertisements. For example, there was a girl walking around with Sol beer who was wearing a Sol shirt, a Sol (mini) skirt, and even Sol cowboy boots. And they were all bright, electric white--even the boots--which was pretty funny. I mean, didn't anyone ever tell her that wearing white after Labor Day is a no-no?

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