First there was breakfast. I wasn’t particularly hungry, so delayed until mid-morning, then decided to walk to the other end of town for a change, to try some small dish at a different café. Stopped at an interesting place and began to use my automatic translation app to decipher the menu, as usual. The menu in this café was in a book – mpre upscale than the usual shop with a painted sign on the wall, or a one-page paper printout. But the Waitress was insistent that I order the fish she pointed to in the book. It looked like a porcupine and the cost was $8, about twice the usual meal cost in town. Finally I gave in and went for it, and so had the very best breakfast and fish imaginable. The flavor was delicate and delicious, with not a bone in the entire fish – except for the head standing up at one end and the tail standing up on the other. It was deep fried, and covered with a sweet and sour sauce. But the odd thing is that the flesh was cut so that it stood out from the fish like a pile of french fries. At least, that made eating it with chopsticks especially easy.
In the afternoon, Tomash, Dagur, Suzanne and I took a taxi to the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) to buy more art supplies. The stores are in a white building across from CAFA, and its landmark is the ZOO Café that serves outstanding coffee and espresso. Good coffee here is always a very welcome surprise.
We all coordinated our resources to create an Italian Pasta Party that evening. Suzanne decorated her studio with candles and even roses, and we combined our furniture and tableware to provide for the event. Dagur is a trained chef, and creaated a wonderful salad and sauce for the pasta. We of course had plenty of beer and sparkling wine, and Tiyan brought a French cake covered with whipped cream and fruit. The company included Suzanna of course, Petra and her Mother Brenda visiting from Iceland, Dagur the chef, Tomash his assisant, Anne, Tiyan, Vincent, and me.
Vincent isn’t a Red Gate Resident, but has been in China for six weeks and is working as an assistant in Ai Wei Wei’s Beijing studio in Caochangdi. It was fascinating to talk with him about that experince. I’ve always been very curious about how prolific internationally reknowned artists such as Ai live and work, and use assistants in their work. Vincent provided a small window into this world.