Tony Blair in Beijing
I was sitting at the bar of Da Dong Roast Duck restaurant in Beijing with my very new married couple friends I met on the way into the restaurant. Sherry and Chip live in Seoul, Korea. They arrived there from Kansas five years ago. They arrived in Beijing for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. While chatting with Sherry and Chip I noticed the four white men with security looking ear pieces walk into the restaurant and got curiously excited. I then saw Tony Blair with them. The five of them walked straight back to a non special 4 seater table. I nearly immediately then got up and approached an earpiece guy and started with, “I have a question.”
He made eye contact, firmly grabbed my elbow and pushed me backwards firmly half a meter. I then said, “What are the odds of me getting a photo?”
He politely said, “no chance.” I then followed up with, “I did ask the right person.” He (very politely) acknowledged my response as I walked back to my seat still full of excitement about the sighting and the encounter with British secret service.
My friends, David, Chris, and Julie arrived a few short minutes later and I shared my celebrity sighting story with them. After we sat, ate, and then got ready to leave I noticed the restaurant staff all getting autographs and photos so I went back, acknowledged the security guys and asked Tony if it was appropriate for a photo. He, very politely, said yes. I then went in for the photo and put my arm around him as he put his arm on my shoulder. My arm was quickly pushed down by a security guy. I exchanged a few pleasantries with him as a nice young lady took our photo with my phone. I shook his hand, then walked away. I now get to say that I met a former world leader and got to shake his hand and get a photo.
My witty friend, David, approached him, shook hands, and said, “I’m not even famous and people take my photo because I am white in Beijing.” Tony responded with, “American, right?”
On our way out I waved to the security guys at their table, said thanks and received head nods and acknowledgement from them. I love professional folks!
We foolishly didn’t even ask him why he was here. Also, Before I said anything (even to the two British guys in the restaurant) I believe I was the only person in the restaurant who recognized him.
That stuff fascinates me. I will now spend more time at places such as Da Dong in order to get more photos with former and present world leaders.