Christmas in China! What a… subdued holiday. In fact, if I hadn’t constantly reminded myself all day that it was Christmas, I wouldn’t have known. The only places with decorations were a couple fancy places downtown and malls.
Hey look, one of my students gave me an apple! This is China’s only Christmas tradition… apples. Um, ok. On the plus side, it was really tasty.
On Christmas Eve a couple of friends and I started our celebrations by going to a hip hop dance class, where I embarrassed myself badly. Then we hit up our fav bar Alibaba’s and tried to decide where to bring our festivities from there. As it turns out, one of my friends is part of the Tianjin archery club (random), and they were having a party to celebrate the Xmas.
The club was downtown, in a dark alleyway with no sign to tell curious people that anything existed there at all. But inside, Tianjin’s archery masters were already quite wasted, with a pile of empty wine bottles to prove it. Luckily, none of them were mixing their drunkenness with shooting arrows. Even though I had never seen these people before, they were quite friendly and shared their bounty of cognac, whiskey, wine, and beer. And, there were CASHEWS. Delicious.
On Christmas, my friend and I decided that we could get some legit American food at TGI Friday’s. After a little bit of wandering, we found the place and went inside, only to discover that they were having a special Christmas dinner, full of meats and other delicious things that my vegetarian friend couldn’t eat. To top it off, this set-meal was 300 RMB (quite expensive, especially if you can’t eat half the food they give you).
So we about-faced and went to our ol’ stand-by, Helen’s Bar. Unlike my last experience there, where I sat next to people who could only speak Japanese, stared at themselves in the mirror for an hour straight, or simply wanted nothing to do with me, my friend and I met some really cool foreigners (Americans and two guys from South Africa and Zambia) who were also trying to celebrate Christmas. So that, combined with the two free drinks and 15 RMB cups of wine, made for a solid evening 🙂
So despite all of my favorite Christmas traditions not happening (being at home with family, opening presents, engulfing a huge breakfast and later an equally huge dinner, hot cocoa, etc. etc.), it wasn’t too bad. But I did miss my family, and I missed watching endless Christmas movies on TV, even the bad ones. But hey, there’s always next year.