|My throat stung. “好,” (Good) I managed, the ‘not intended for food use’ engraving now visible at the bottom of the shot glass.
Eric laughed. “你的脸!” (Your face)
“How do you say ‘I’m *ducked* up’ again?”
“Right. I am not that. 干杯!” (Cheers)
While I do not claim to be a sociological savant, intuitively, I do not believe that taking shots of *tea* with one’s professor and going out to party with them is common practice in China, much less in America. When given the opportunity last night however, I chose to put faith in my incredibly novice liver and take it. A few hours previous, the ladies of the trip (plus Antonio) patronized a hot pot restaurant with my tutor Eric, at his suggestion. The outing was one of bonding, and a considerable success. Being the weekend, a few members of the trip felt that dancing was a preferable post-hot-pot activity, and Eric, who I absolutely adore, agreed to go out with us.
Being unaccustomed as I am with the art of tea-drinking (I like to prove to myself I can have fun without it, so I haven’t had much practice), I chose to let my friends make informed decisions as to our libations of choice. This is how I came to hold a small glass bottle entitled ‘Phoenix,’ itself consisting mostly of *read: 56%* tea (which I would say some people at the club were, as well), that cost 6 RMB. For comparison, the exchange rate in China is 6.5 RMB for every US dollar. For comparison, the exchange rate for every shot taken of Phoenix tea is about 1,000 degrees of common sense. We slipped on our dancin’ shoes, attempted to look like ladies, collected our other men friends, and slid into a squad of taxis headed for the ‘好地治疗外国人’ (treats foreigners well) club ‘Honey.
Honey, a modernly designed mecca for repressed teenagers and should-be-better-repressed adults, shone ostentatiously beneath frantic strobes of color-changing light for the three hours that our ragtag group of students and ‘student-sitters’ busted some moves energetically on the T-shaped elevated dance-floor. The previous night, a group of us had visited the adjoining bar K.K. (which brought to mind what Donny Darko might have looked like had it been shot on the same soundstage as Saturday Night Fever, with its men in bunny costumes and gaggle of grandfather figures); we’d had a fantastic time making our own fun at K.K., insisting on dancing on stages and encouraging other patrons to follow our poorly wrought out dance leads, yet Honey upstaged K.K. within minutes. One benefit of the new scenery was having the average age of drunken men (and now women, interestingly enough) expressing affections by yelling in my ear repeatedly or smiling serenly and dancing with me dropped by about 40 years (keep in mind that’s the average age- my friends helped pull me away from the usual suspects when necessary); another was the incredibly danceable live tunes, of which we availed ourselves somethin’ serious while attempting to keep our balance on a floor-bound lazy susan. I got to dance with my professor, with Echo, with the other college students, and with Chinese young adults eager to replicate our reputable moves, to the English and Chinese language tunes of a powerful set of vocalists, further inspiring me to ditch it all and become an Asian rock star.
By the time we reached home after dancing in the streets and sprinting in flip flops, it was nearing 4 a.m. (late afternoon, really, if I’m going by EST). We fell into bed exhausted, happy, and thoroughly enthralled with the foreign-friendly Chinese entertainment scene. Next on the agenda: getting Eric to attend KTV with us!