The B&B’s got a name!
Ever since coming back from my guilty Vietnam trip, things have not been going well. The landlord hasn’t signed the sublease agreement and I was back to working on the contracts. Kelley was not happy about the changes in the terms I promised (or we assumed). And coming up with a name for the B&B has been like pulling teeth. I realize that part of the reason for the difficulty was that I haven’t found its personality yet — and I’m a bit worried that I myself do not match the 5-star high-style decor that Don seems to be shaping towards. This is back the question of identity, and there’s really no escape in it. I’ll have to figure that out for myself eventually.
During the course of 2 weeks, I’ve written up 6 note pages of various names, concocted by yours truly and sympathetic friends. Special thanks for Cathy, who called me enthusiastically and contributed “Nightingale” at the end of a long work day. The first thing I looked into was ChangLe Rd’s old French Concession name: Rue Bourgeat. Way too hard to pronounce. I don’t speak French so can’t even pronounce it properly, as I imagine most customers won’t either. Ok, the Chinese translation is 蒲石路… what? pushy? Nah.. How about the beautiful Wutong 梧桐 plane trees that line the street? Both names sound bad (“no pain” and “plain tree”?). Hsun suggested that I look into fabric/touch or smell, since I’m into those things myself. She came up with Velvet Lane, but I shot it down since Velvet Lounge is around the corner. I tried out flower names but somehow the names were either too abused (rose, orchid, peony, mudan) or too much of a tongue twister (michelis alba 白玉蘭 huh??, osmanthus, cereus 曇花). How about just plain Lane House 808? “It’s been done already…” Don said. Don liked “Trellis” since he’s planning to put one up on the rooftop but I thought it was too random and not a major feature of the house. Also thought along the line of jewel box and gems, but got similar issues as with the flowers. Then there’s the “oasis” cluster: Tranquility, Haven, Retreat, Hammock…sleepy… I thought about using “Opium Lane,” but was afraid that my rich, baby boomer couples would be too intimidated and skip my B&B altogether. Tried easy-to-pronounce Chinese words that have deep and far-reaching meaning, like “Hui” 匯 and “Ju” 聚, which both mean “convergence”. The Summit across the street is called 匯賢居, which means the gathering or convergence of the respected. Darn, what a perfect name! I dare not dabble too much into Chinese names too much for I often jumble up my Chinese idioms 成語. Alice, being the English teacher she is, came up with “Au Contraire” (you said you want to be an alternative 5-star hotel right?) and “Diamondita” (Jewel and jewel box?).
The closest runner-up was “TBD”. To be determined. To be developed. To be destroyed ;-p If reflects my indecisiveness toward the nature of this B&B. Credit goes to Monica. We somehow came up with the idea from her commenting about a Oakley knock-off “Oyay”. How about “Oright”, “Oshit”, and “Omygod”? That’s a hotel chain right there, lol. I slept on “TBD” for one night until today, when amidst thunder and downpour, Hsun, Monique, and me sat around after dinner and came up with “Quintet”. “How about 5xxx?” “5 Senses?” “Quartet?” “How do you call quartet with 5 people?” “Quintet.” Voila~ Hsun and I also agreed that our favorite instrument is the cello. Here’s what I wrote to Don just now: “I think I came up with the name of the hotel — Quintet B&B. It speaks to Shanghai being a place of variety, collaboration, and harmony (or dissonance if put together poorly). It’s also classy and intimate which fit our little house and alludes to the five rooms we have. But no need to be so literal about Quintet’s musical definition.
I’ll wait a few days and see if Quintet sticks!