After class yesterday, I joined some friends for lunch at the Dumpling Restaurant. I’ve only been with them once before, but apparently they eat there quite often. In a situation reminiscent of Korean Garden in Tulsa (which bought beautiful new wood tables after a number of us began frequenting the restaurant), the owner has recently sprung for bigger tables and new shoes. We’re wondering how long it’s going to be before he buys a car . . .
We lingered a long time over lunch, enjoying the conversation. Some of us are making plans to get out of Xiamen next weekend after the 期中考试 (mid-terms). Also, I found some kindred spirits – someone else who hates the incessant compliments of Chinese people, someone whose feet are as big as mine, and someone who had their first bout of loneliness yesterday. We followed lunch with a trip to McDonald’s (actually my first time inside the one by campus) because the Europeans were dying for some ‘real coffee’. (Don’t laugh; it’s all relative!) I forgot I was in China and ordered a chocolate milkshake, and was surprised that it was actually insanely delicious! It tasted like chocolate, not like some odd combination of sugar, wax, and . . . brown.
I met my engineering friend, Hu Jing, for dinner, and we went to a Hot Pot restaurant (hot pot is a popular Chinese dish that consists of cooking raw food in a boiling pot of water). I had never been and it’s a little bit complicated to eat, so I required a lot of instruction. We ordered our pot to be a little bit spicy (for me), and a little bit not spicy (for Hu Jing).
Then we proceeded to the buffet-like area, where we chose what we wanted to eat. They had all sorts of meat, fish, tofu, eggs, and vegetables – cabbage, lettuce, potato, mushrooms, etc.
(Note: the tomato and orange are not meant to be cooked in the water. Oops!) I grabbed a little bit of a lot of things (including a mushroom – I like to stretch a little bit each day) and ended up trying even more things when Hu Jing gave me some of her favorites. It was really delicious, although the combination of 辣 (spicy hot) and 热 (hot hot) made it hard to eat. One thing that I really like is that the place was all-you-can eat, which encourages me to sample things I may not like. It’s also all-you-can-drink, so I tried to make the most of it . . . 2 Sprites and a Fanta (but yes, they did have beer). 39 yuan per person, so just over 5 dollars, for a feast.
During dinner, Hu Jing mentioned that she had class tonight and asked if I would like to come. Would I like to go a Friday night electronic controls class? Is the Pope Catholic?? Am I a nerd?? The answer to all of the above is ‘YES!’, so we went. He had a PowerPoint presentation (also in Chinese), which meant that I could look up words I didn’t know. It really helped my comprehension – you know, I understood 1% of the class instead of 0%. Yay! I also learned several incredibly useful words for everyday life, like transformer, sensitivity, simulation, cutting machine, and induction. It was fun, though, and definitely a great experience to have. Also, the teacher was really young and quite good-looking . . . maybe that’s how they get these Friday night classes to fly??
Back in my dorm afterwards, Leinira pressured me to go to a Halloween party. I had been thinking about a costume for weeks and come up with nothing, but in a last-minute moment of inspiration, I had an idea. I had a pearl necklace, jean skirt, leggings, black heels, and bobby pins, so . . . sorority girl! After not even being able to explain the concept to Leinira, I knew that 99% of the people I would encounter would not get it, but decided that was okay with me.
Leinira dressed up as . . . well, I don’t really know. I kind of think she was just trying to prove a point that she gets the same kind of looks when she dresses crazy as when she dresses like herself. (I agree. One of these days I’m going to walk out with my skirt tucked in my underwear and totally won’t notice because the reactions I get will be the same. Heck, maybe I already have!)
We met up with some friends and then went to the party, which was at Bar Blanc by ZhongShan Lu. There was a lot of people and some lame music, so I left pretty quickly. The best part of it was definitely the view of the bridge, all lit up at nighttime.
We went to The Key, but I wasn’t feeling too into it and the band sounded a little off. When the Chinese band came on, I went with some friends to KK, the club next door. Their music is more pounding beat and less melody, performed by a DJ instead of a live band. They also have a big stage up front and a few small ones throughout the floor where beautiful young Chinese women dance, wearing various amounts of clothing. We’re pretty sure this is their job, because their faces were completely expressionless as their bodies were moving. At one point, they switched out and the stage was empty for a song. Lester (the guy from the dancing pictures) held out his hand and gestured towards the stage, and I nodded. And that’s how I ended up dancing on stage in front of an entire bar full of Chinese people. I may not be as beautiful as the other dancers were, and I certainly wasn’t dressing or dancing as suggestively, but they never got applause and we did. I’m just sayin’.
Back at the Key, the band had finally found their groove, and they rocked the place until 3 in the morning. The place was insanely crowded, but we managed to find space to dance anyway. When we got home around 3, we had to walk by the guard, sleeping on the bench by the door (about as effective as any ‘guard dog’ my family has ever owned). Unfortunately, they stopped the temperature police a week or so ago, because I was mischievously looking forward to waking the person on duty in order to get my temperature taken.