Sunday, August 07, 2005

Kunming and the Gang

Kunming, China

We went out last night for a proper drink. It seems like it had been a while since we just went out to go bar-hopping. I guess we tried to do it on our last night in Chengdu, but it was pretty much a failure. We were both tired, and the bar was pretty disappointing. We ended up packing it in early.
But, last night, we went out and we stayed out. There was this one spot, known as the Hump Over the Himalayas, that was listed as a good place to drink by the Rough Guide. It was in the city center and it had a large mall around it that was full of drinking holes, so it would be easy to move on to the next establishment once we were done with the Hump.
The bar was nice enough, with a fairly standard layout (so far, it has seemed that bars the world 'round usually follow similar design standards). There were a smattering of fellow travelers, but most of the clientele looked to be locals. And many of them were playing some sort of dice-based drinking game that we had seen before in China. We wanted in. We asked the bartender and a couple of the waitresses how to play, but we were unable to completely communicate our confusion.
So, Mike grabbed a random girl across the bar who luckily spoke a surprisingly large amount of english. She explained the game known as Dice Cup to us. It was similar to many other drinking games in that it involved a healthy mixture of randomness, lying, and shots of beer. It was easy enough to learn, and soon, we were rollin' some dice. Our teacher wasn't drinking, so we made her spout two-line poems in english instead of the normal alcohol-based punishments.
After a couple of hours of this, we were nice and warmed up, and ready to jump off to the next bar. Our new-found friend didn't want to join us, so we bid her farewell and stepped out of the Hump into the cool Kunming night, looking for a new distraction. We found what we were looking for not fifty feet away. I have no idea what the club was called, but it was loud, flashy, and full of people.
There were two items of note in this club; the horrible beer, and the dancing wimmens.
I'm not sure where they got their beer, but it seemed like they purchased the shittiest local beer they could find, then re-packaged it with fake branding. The bottles were exactly the same, and the labels were practically falling off. The two available brands were Golden Cup and American Lager. I think I was drinking the Cup.
Go-go dancers aren't so uncommon in the US, but it was the first time I had seen anything like it in China, and it was a little surprising. There was even a Go-go dude in there. But what was really noticeable about them was the completely disinterested way in which they performed their duties. For the most part, they just appeared to be re-hashing dance moves that they may have seen in five-year-old dance videos, and they were universally bored. They would jump up onto their assigned podium, do their five-minute forced performance, and then run back to the table in the corner where all the dancers sat.
We were only in there for about half an hour before I found myself sitting amongst a large group of Chinese dudes in the VIP section. They spoke maybe ten words of english between them, but they were eagerly feeding me shots of beer and giving me the thumbs up gesture. Every once in a while, they would bring over a dancer, and get her to sit next to me and we would have an awkward conversation. At first, I thought they were just being friendly. However, later into the night, when they started trying to hold my hand, I figured they might have other motives.
They had also managed to capture another Westerner into their harem. His name was Sylvain, and he was Swiss. He was a pretty interesting guy. Sylvain was a gymnast for the Canadian National Team, and he was in China with a girl (who wasn't his girlfriend) on vacation. We had similar taste in music (Drum'n'Bass and the Hip-Hops), and he wanted to learn how to breakdance. We had a few laughs and a lot of free Chinese beer. I would have liked to hang out with him more, but he was off to Beijing the next day.
Anyway, the rest of the night was spent drinking and doing the Electric Bugaloo. I unsuccessfully hit on one of the dancers, and Mike had a confusing encounter with the waiting staff that netted us two very expensive bottles of whiskey. We ended the night with a bowl of hot ramen from a random noodle shack near the club, then cabbed our way back to the hostel.

Good night.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason! This is your mother. Erik just showed me how to access and traverse your website. I hope that everything is going wonderfully well for you and Mike. I brag about my son traveling the world for a whole year to anyone that will listen. I will start (now that Erik has shown me) sending you little mom-messages. Okay! Stay healthy and wise in your travels.

Love Mom.

8/11/2005 12:48 AM gmt

Blogger jason said...

Mommy! Welcome to the website. Have you had a chance to check out any of the photo albums? They're probably the highest in entertainment density.

Love Son the Second.

8/14/2005 6:11 AM gmt


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