1980年美国国家展(二):北京饭店里撒欢的兔子 / The US National Exhibition 1980 – Part Two

 

友谊宾馆正门,1979年。/ Friendship Hotel main entrance, 1979

北京饭店里撒欢的兔子

1980年,只有少数美国公司在北京开设了代表处,常住北京的美国商人的数量微乎其微。

所以,在来京布展的几百名美国代表中,即便不是绝大多数,至少也有很多人是第一次来华,他们既充满了好奇,又怀有诸多疑虑。

大部分美方代表被安排在友谊宾馆下榻,只有少数幸运者获准入住客房条件较好、离市中心也更近的北京饭店。此时距离北京开始出现交通堵塞现象的年代还很远。

不管客人是住在友谊宾馆还是北京饭店,此时距可口可乐、凯迪拉克或奶酪汉堡涌入北京的时代尚远。当时,两家饭店都很舒适,但条件和设施都很基本。酒店的星级制度尚未实行,也没有酒店业通行的“微笑服务”概念。许多外国客人学会的第一个中文词就是“没有”,因为他们听饭店服务员重复说这个词的次数太多了。

那时候在北京几乎找不到西餐,只有少数几家酒店能够提供一些基本的西餐菜式,还有就是紧邻展览馆的旧式俄餐厅,那里的俄式大餐格外好吃,鱼子酱也很便宜。

因为北京没有酒吧,即使是酒店里也没有,所以一到晚上,参展的美国代表团的成员们就只好自己打发时间。不过,宴请活动很频繁,特别是对那些已开始在中国开展业务的大公司高管来说,或者对政府官员来说,宴请活动更多。

至于谈到饮食和娱乐,美国人则牢牢记住了当时在中国铺天盖地的一条标语——“自力更生”。

由于在工作之外拥有了大把的业余时间,再加上没有什么可以选择的娱乐项目,于是某些美国代表就开始搞恶作剧。

Rabbits on the Loose in the Beijing Hotel

In 1980, only a handful of American companies had rep offices in Beijing, and the number of American business people resident in Beijing was tiny.

So, many if not most of the hundreds of American delegates who came to the show in support of their companies’ exhibits were first-time visitors, full of curiosity and not a little apprehension.

The majority of US delegates were assigned accommodations in the Friendship Hotel. The lucky few were permitted to stay in the Beijing Hotel, which had nicer rooms and was more centrally located. This was long before Beijing began to experience traffic jams.

No matter whether visitors stayed at the Friendship or Beijing Hotel, this was before the arrival of Coca Cola, Cadillacs, or cheeseburgers in Beijing. Both hotels were fine, but basic. Star rankings for hotels had not yet begun, nor had the concept of “service with a smile” in the hospitality industry generally. Many foreign visitors’ first words of Chinese were “mei you” because they heard this repeated so often by hotel staff.

Western food was nearly impossible to find in Beijing, apart from some basic offerings in a few hotels and some surprisingly good Russian food, including inexpensive caviar, in the old Russian restaurant adjacent to the exhibition center.

There were no bars in Beijing even in hotels, so delegates were pretty much on their own in the evenings ; but banquets were numerous especially for executives of larger companies who had already begun to develop some business in China, or for government officials.

For food and entertainment, the American visitors took to heart a slogan which was popular on walls and posters in China at the time “Zili gengsheng” or “Self-reliance”.

Given an unusual amount of free time on their hands outside of working hours, with little in the way of entertainment options, some delegates got up to mischief.

 

北京饭店正门,1979年。/ Beijing Hotel main entrance, 1979

有一次,一家美国中西部大型设备公司的一些企业高管应一家中方单位的邀请,参加了一个宴会。这家公司的其他未被邀请的同事们知道,这些高管在盛宴之后返回酒店时,肯定已经喝了不少茅台酒,于是他们决定策划一次伏击。

为了搞恶作剧,他们从海淀区的一家农业研究所购买了六只兔子和十几颗圆白菜。等同事们离开北京饭店赴宴之后,他们把兔子和圆白菜一起塞进了同事的客房。

等到赴宴人员返回北京饭店时,他们确实已经喝了一些茅台和大量的青岛啤酒,情绪十分高涨。而没去的同伴则躲在附近,等着看热闹。当赴宴者走进自己的酒店房间后,他们发现,房间地板好像是一个大的色拉台,到处都是啃剩一半的菜叶,还有受到惊吓而四处乱窜的兔子。

这些人的第一反应是惊呆了,有那么一瞬间,他们以为自己可能喝了太多茅台,产生了幻觉。接着,他们就本能地试图去抓这些兔子,但此时,吃饱了的兔子可比喝了太多茅台的醉汉们敏捷得多。猎兔人纷纷滑倒在散落着菜叶的地板上,地上还满是兔子吃过大量菜叶后留下的许多小圆球。

不出几分钟,这群兔子闯进了北京饭店的走廊,后面跟着恶作剧的始作俑者和受害者,还有不知所措的饭店员工——这种情形在他们的培训手册上绝对没有出现过(你想想,培训手册第36章第12条会这样规定吗:“当外宾携带未经登记的兔子入店时,应该采取的措施是……”?)。

In one such incident, some senior executives of one large midwestern equipment company were invited to a banquet by a Chinese organization. Another group from the same company, not included in the guest list, knew that their colleagues would return to their hotel rooms after the sumptuous dinner most likely having had too much Maotai to drink. They decided to plan an ambush.

So as a practical joke, they purchased a half dozen rabbits from an agricultural research center in Haidian District, along with a dozen heads of lettuce. The rabbits and lettuce were inserted into their colleagues’ Beijing Hotel room after they had left for the banquet.

By the time the banqueters returned to the hotel, they had indeed had a few Maotais and Qingdaos too many. They were in a jovial mood. Their colleagues hid nearby and waited for the commotion which occurred after they walked into their hotel room and found what looked like an enormous salad bar on the floor, now half eaten, with startled rabbits darting every which way.

Their first reaction was shock and a fleeting thought that perhaps they were hallucinating from a Maotai overdose. Next came the natural instinct of trying to catch the rabbits, which by this time were very well fed and much more agile than the Maotai drinkers. So the rabbit hunters slipped and fell onto lettuce-strewn floor, which was also covered by lots of those little round things which rabbits leave behind after they eat large quantities of lettuce.

Within minutes the rabbits were running down the corridors of the Beijing Hotel, followed by the pranksters as well as the prank victims, and the befuddled hotel staff members, for whom this was definitely not in the training handbook ( Just imagine Chapter 36, Section 12: “Measures to be taken when the foreign guests bring unregistered rabbits into the hotel …”)


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1980年美国国家展(二):北京饭店里撒欢的兔子 / The US National Exhibition 1980 – Part Two》上有 1 条评论

  1. :lol 太好玩了

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