So I've been slacking off a bit on the blog, so my last week. Keinan and I went out for dinner Friday night and then went to a really upscale bar around the corner from our hotel. It looks like it's a pretty great spot to go to and might be a regular place for us. It's nice talking with Keinan too, because he is both a big CFL and NHL fan so we have lots in common. We packed it in early as he left Saturday morning at 6am to go home to Canada to see his family. Saturday I took it pretty easy, didn't do much of anything.
Sunday, we headed over to the Confucius temple as Anthony and Misty were in the performance that was being performed as representatives of their school. It was a memorial celebration of Confucius. It was pretty funny watching the two of them because they had to read a bunch of quotes or a prayer from Confucius, we don't really know because they were with a bunch of people and had to read it out (pretend to anyways) in Chinese. The whole ceremony was pretty amazing though.
This is the first time where I felt like we stood out being foreigners. We were trying to get pictures with the performers, and just as many of the performers were trying to get pictures with us. I swear between the four of us we are probably in about 1000 pictures at the temple. Denise and Misty were definitely more popular than Anthony and I but we are both still in a ton of pictures. Misty and Anthony also were interviewed by the Chinese national news station, and a reporter was even trying to interview Denise and I, but that never actually happened. After that the four of us went to lunch.
Later that night Misty and I went bowling with another teacher, Jeff from her school. We bowled a game then played pool, then went out to check out a street we'd heard there were a few bars. There are about 12 within five minutes of each other and we checked out about half of them. This is where the advantage of being a foreigner played in nicely, in two different bars. The first one we go into, we ask them what a bottle of wine costs and this is where things got lost in translation. We both understood 80 rmb for the wine, which was reasonable, so we order it. About five minutes later they come by with it and Misty hands them a 100 RMB bill. The guy takes it and comes back a few minutes later and asks for the rest, written on a piece of paper. He could tell we were confused and writes that the price is 580 RMB. CRAP!! I'd had half a glass, Misty had finished hers, so we poorly discussed with them the confusion and gave the rest of the bottle back. Fortunately they were nice enough to understand, so we paid the 100 RMB and we left. The next place we went to we had a couple of drinks and sat with the guys who run the bar and about ten of their friends. we go to pay our tabs and the guy says in passable English essentially that, if we promised to go back, no charge for tonight. Pretty sweet.
Monday and Tuesday were track meet days at the school leading into the holiday so other than that Denise was in the skipping competition tuesday, it was two days we didn't have to teach. The students pick and choose what events they go in, and don't actually have to compete at all if they don't want to. I think only about 10 of our 43 ran in any events, so it was two fairly boring days because we didn't even have many of our own students to cheer on. They also went with the Chinese High School calendar, so the track meet had a 2 and a half hour break at midday before resuming. That break is painful.
Tuesday night I went to a wedding with Belinda. It was a lot of fun. We were only there for the reception but it was pretty great. Lots of English love songs, (Bryan Adams, Michael Bolton, Backstreet Boys) an amazing amount of food, and unfortunately I can't really tell you much about the speeches because alas, my Chinese is non-existent at this point. The fortunate thing is that Belinda's table was all English teacher friends of hers, and the bride herself is an English teacher, so I was able to have good conversations with all of them. I have been invited to go into a few of their classes for an afternoon as a guest, during my preps or after my school day is over.
The next day Seven toured me around the city for the afternoon on his electric motorcycle (basically what we call a scooter in Canada). After driving with Seven, it actually gave me the desire to have one...it's so convenient so we shall see. Seven took me out to his parents wonton shop for dinner and drinks. One thing about being here is, everybody wants to impress you by drinking alcohol with you, so anywhere you go as a guest, they are always giving you alcohol. They don't really ask they just start pouring. I'm okay with that when it's beer or red wine, but I'm still having a hard time with the Baijo, they called it white wine but it's I think about 60% and this stuff is still lethal. The best way I can describe it, is like a cross between moonshine, Vodka and rough tequila. It never gets easier. I don't know how they get used to drinking it, and every teacher/foreigner I have talked to, if you bring it up, they all start laughing and the one word most often used is lethal.
As we were at dinner, I got a call from Belinda, asking if I wanted to go to Karaoke. Well, I never turn down Karaoke, but we hadn't been there long so I said I would call her when we were done dinner. I called her back around 9pm figuring I might catch them near the end...um nope they were just on their way. So we headed over and joined them. The karaoke place was amazing. Huge rooms, an xbox 360 in every room, and tons and tons of English songs to choose from. Oh and there is a club that you walk through to get to the Karaoke rooms. Each room is themed too. We were in an Egyptian themed room. That's where I found out we were actually in a room with the wife (Jo-Jo) of the man who owns the club (I took a couple pictures of his Maserati). He joined us later on. We were there right until closing at 2am. I also met their neighbour Jerry.
The next day we went out to Jo-Jo's place for lunch. It was a huge bbq, tons of food all over the place. I think this was the first time I ever had Rabbit. Good meat, just not much on it. I also had liver, a bunch of beef, seafood and chicken. Such a great meal and the thing that is just so much fun is how hospitable everyone is. There were about 30 people there, and we had great conversation about lots of different things. Seven was translating for me for much of the day, and apparently the women of the group took a great liking to me. I started getting a few questions from the women on my relationship views and status before they let it slip that they were already planning my future with Jerry. They were talking around the table about our wedding. I had only met Jerry the night before but she's a ton of fun to be around, quite smart and definitely attractive, so I ask the question if they were okay with me taking her on some dates before they started setting a wedding date. That got the table hooting and hollering, which was pretty funny. I think Jerry was a bit embarrassed by all the attention but she didn't make any comment to them (at least that was translated for me, and Seven's pretty good about that sort of thing) or to me that she wasn't interested.
To get a little bit personal here, one thing I get the impression of, is that casual dating is not really a thing over here. I really hope that's the case because I LOATH casual dating, I'm not good at it, and I hate all the games that seem to be involved so if I'm reading this situation right, I will be a happy man.
After lunch we headed home, but Jerry and Belinda planned another night of Karaoke. I got home around 4pm, and slept till 8:30...my first official, middle of the day, Chinese style nap. We then went to Karaoke again (Jerry and her crew picked me up) and we sang until about 1:30am and then went downtown to a roadside BBQ where we sat and ate and drank a bit longer, before heading home. Jerry also invited me to go out of town the next day with her and a couple other people.
The next day I went to the gym, and then didn't do much of anything waiting till we were going to leave. Unfortunately, Jerry showed up and said she got called on a work emergency and had to go to Guilin airport and deal with something. Too bad but oh well, she said she'd make it up to me with dinner in the next few days.
I have done absolutely nothing today, but Misty and I are heading to the "Beer Music Festival" that is playing just down the block from my apartment in about an hour. Should be a fun night.
Until next time,