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An albatross swan song – Verse 6: Mona Loser, lunch, and some ghosts

An albatross swan song
Verse 6: Mona Loser, lunch, and some ghosts


OK folks, we are getting close to the weird bit now. To bring you up to date, Pumpkin and I got some encouraging Flying Dragon Ghost news from someone very near and dear to us both: Ms Manchu.

Ms Manchu (my nick for her, but she prefers Mona Loser – a translation problem that I’ve been trying to correct for some time now) hangs out in Beijing; once named Yanjing – same as the beer.

Mona’s picture (above) was taken at the previous forbidden residence of her kin. Sadly I thought it best to censor the image, which robs us of seeing her playful and captivating eyes.

Pumpkin and I were in Australia when the news (from Mona) arrived. We were excited for it was the year of the Bull and something was going to happen – this time. When the news came it was absolutely dialectical because, by chance (or was it by design) the GoldenelephantPharmacy (recommended by my Duck) could be found just around the corner from Mona’s home. “How fortunate,” I said to Pumpkin. “We can kill two humanites with one stone. I can deal with those bloody pink elephants and at the same time I’ll solve the problem of the Flying Dragon Ghost.”

“We’ll solve it together, darling,” said Pumpkin with a smile – a sad smile just the same.

Pumpkin and I navigated our separate ways to Yanjing (I flew while she caught the slow boat). On my arrival I checked out the Pharmacy (numerous times), Party HQ and The Square (you’ve seen the pics) and wandered about until Pumpkin arrived and called me after getting more news from Mona.

Pumpkin and I met up and got cracking, but not before a little detour to the Goldenelephant Pharmacy; things were hotting up and I had a cunning plan.

I decided it was time to try something daring, dream outside The Great Wall, so to speak. Anyway, the fine white powder seemed to have lost its kick; I needed something with the kick of Bruce Lee.

You see, I was experiencing a dialectical ambiguity: the more white powder I took the more I needed it. Or was it: the more I needed it the more I took? Dialectics and drugs just don’t mix, so I abandoned the “dialectics” part.

Accordingly I walked into the Goldenelephant Pharmacy and said, “Knee how dude,” to a lad who had served me many times before. He wore a Kurt KerBANG T-shirt and white lab coat. From my back pocket I produced a note and slipped it across the counter while instructing him to disregard the last bit – “We already know that bit,” I said. The kid read my script:

Last Tango in Yanjing – when the Bull roars.

The kid looked up and said with a cheeky grin, “Everybody says that,” then disappeared into the back room and returned with a kilo of lard.

“Wrong movie, kid,” I replied straight back at him.

The kid nodded and returned with a small paper packet stamped on both sides with laughing elephants. I offered him 27RMB but the kid consulted his abacus. This time the price was 42 – plus or minus (as the case may be). The kid winked. Done, gobble, burp.

The kid grinned. I walked out and tried to look really cool – but couldn’t.

Pumpkin and I dived into a cab and headed towards Mona’s place. For some reason my stomach told me to eat; so while Pumpkin and I headed towards Mona’s I dreamt (I think it was a dream) of shouting you all out to lunch:




Welcome to a very good restaurant for Dapto Duck and lots of other once living critters. Take a seat, have a beer or some nice Chinese tea. Place an order, or allow Pumpkin to order for you.

BTW, I also requested that all animals be deaded before serving. The lovely young waitress above assured me the animals would not be kicking and screaming when served. “They have been given the last wights – telepathically – from a Father named Park,” she replied. That was good enough for me – dear old Father Park, always turns up when you need him.



Peking Duck (on the left, no right, at its very best). Try some, go ahead – be my guest.



Take a seat, dear Father Park – this one is for you. This is a very yummy dish indeed and loosely translated the dish (not the fish) is called Possum Fish. It is some type of ocean fish. They simply cut its flesh into V shapes, fry it whole and serve it with a very yummy sauce. The fried cut flesh turns into (possum) tails and has a nice crispy texture. You can eat all of it, especially the head. Of course, we albatrosses have never had a problem with that.



I’ll just slip out and pay the bill – in Royal Bank of Scotland script, signed by the usual suspect. In fact the total bill for 13 people only cost 200AUD. Audrey walked out a very round albatross after that little feed and subsequently fell flat on her face.

“Testicles spectacles, vallet and vatch – two outa four ain’t bad,” she thought as she crossed herself.

OK, let’s all dive into cabs and meet a few ghosts who hung out in a forbidden place. I’ve met them before but never as ghosts. Until our current trip I always thought these ghosts were just old stuff, but Mona revealed their secrets. They were old stuff – really old stuff.

Such as: Mr Tang (618 to 907 AD) who once lived in a forbidden place. With a clean up it would be almost brand new. I said to Mona she could get heaps at Sotheby’s for it, but Mona replied she’d rather keep it for her things. How cute is that.

Some guy offered her quite a tidy sum about ten years ago, but Mona’s antique cupboard continues to be used in the way it was designed – to store stuff inside – a useful product, rather than a useless asset. Eat your heart out Harvey Norman and IKEA. I wonder if your stuff will still be functional in a thousand years’ time?

For yonks now we have been sitting around Mona’s flat using a sturdy and simple chair (Madam Ming) to do what we do with chairs, sit on them, rest your weary feet upon them and use them as a table to you eat your dead animals while watching telly. Yet the sturdy wooden frame has weathered the winds of history swimmingly, all the way from the Ming Dynasty.

Sadly the Ming side board (he refused to be photographed) is pretty wooted. He was originally designed to store wine, but 500 years is a pretty good run, and with the new bits of timber replacing the damaged bits he will probably last another couple of hundred years. But his days are numbered, poor dear.

I suppose that’s what happens to a 500 year old wino – live hard, die old. There’s still hope, Father Park, a 500 year piss up and no regrets. But fear not, fellow travellers: Mona won’t abandon the ghost of the old wino, no op-shop for him or using him for firewood – or glue. Rather, Mona will take care of him until the end of whenever.

Meet some of the ghosts:



Kathy Qing; a very beautiful container for jewellery with a mirror in the top lid.



The Qing Twins; cheeky little buggers.



Bertha Biscuit Qing; loves her tucker



Chesty Bond: this secret Qing agent has been wounded in action. A few handles short of the real deal these days. But he still does the job. His side bits are still in perfect condition – they feel and shine like glass.



Shy but egocentric Mr Tang. You’ll see more of him later.

Both Pumpkin and I have known Mona for a long time – Pumpkin forever in fact. Mona is fun.

On an earlier stay at the abode of Mona I attempted in vain to explain to her the English term “harmony”.

I had to resort to song (which is bloody obvious when you think about it) and began singing Frère Jacques – she immediately laughed and then spontaneously harmonised in Mandarin. At first I thought she was just making up words but she was actually singing, to the tune of Frère Jacques, a song about two little tigers she had learnt as a kid – same tune, different story, different language. It was fun and she immediately learnt the meaning of the English word “harmony”. We did it all over again a number of times – it sounded really cute. Musical dialectics?

I suppose in many ways music is another universal constant. It starts with life itself and ends only when we die. Our indigenous folk, here in Australia, knew this well and anybody who has paid attention to black fella music may be aware of same.

The basic underlying rhythm/beat of black fella music begins in the womb. The black fella knocks two sticks together – clack clack – clack clack – clack clack; Our mother’s heart beat goes boom boom – boom boom – boom boom……..

Coming up: Last Tango in Yanjing and a Weird Dairy lunch gets very weird indeed.


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Music was MY first love...

Justin: "I suppose in many ways music is another universal constant. It starts with life itself and ends only when we die."


D'you say "piss-up"??

There’s still hope, Father Park, a 500 year piss up and no regrets

I'm going to require a rapid resuscitation or the retirement funds given that marvellous news!

Don't quite know about that fish dish, Justin; presently I'm into a different variety. Whole fried "blurters" Indian style are nice though...

Father Park

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