I don’t know about you, but where I come from, big occasions are celebrated with alcohol (hmm, that makes my family sound like alcoholics doesn’t it…naaaah, we’re good…I think). The idea that after getting married I wouldn’t even get to toast with my new husband was simply inconceivable to me; therefore, I insisted rather passionately that we attempt to purchase sparkling wine in Hohhot. While part of me worried that I was being too optimistic actually believing we would find something as scarcely imported as bubbly in the city of Hohhot, where the definition of Western restaurant still encompasses the coronary killer trifecta Maccie D’s, KFC and Pizza Hut, as it turned out I had underestimated the third tier city. Third tier it might be, but it is still the capital of Inner Mongolia!
While we for a split second considered the 29 RMB Chinese-produced sparkling wine, which had alarm bells running overtime in my mind, Mr.Li’s eagle eyes spotted the Italian imports on the top-most shelf of the imported alcohol section. And so we walked out of the supermarket with a red sparkling wine produced in Italy and some paper cups. I have never been happier in my entire life! I did feel a little concerned as to whether red wine in combination with my wedding dirndl was really such a good idea but as I said to Mr.Li, “We love living dangerously, we are such daredevils!”
After a short pit stop at the Li flat during which I grabbed a change of clothes since we had decided to spend the afternoon at my favourite massage parlour in the entire world, we then returned once again to the b(r)at cave to await the appearance of our kind registrar Lord Lazybum from Bedfordshire.
We arrived at the offices at 2pm, and so had a half hour wait ahead of us. It was a very entertaining thirty minutes as Mr.Li stole a chair for me to sit down (he can be such a romantic when he wants to), we listened to what was going on behind the closed doors of the administration office – a group of guys sounding like they were having a serious argument, while they were in fact just playing cards while listening to really, really old Chinese music and then, in the second instance, Mongolian tunes; at which point I wrapped the folk style scarf that I bought years ago in Sichuan province’s Tibetan valley Jiuzhaigou around my arms and developed a “Mongolian style choreography” dancing about in the hall. Other highlights included us finding a song with the word waiting with it *whatever you say, whatever you do, we will be right here waiting for you…*, awkward looks from an office worker at our singing and dancing in the hallway and finally the arrival of Double-O Zero, the undetectable agent, aka the registrar.