Happy belated 2013, everyone! What a shiny new year for us to make a lot of goals and then abandon them partway. Wow, that sounded pessimistic. But really, I’m quite excited for this next year: more China, summer travels somewhere, then starting college for realzz (no really, I won’t run away to a foreign country to avoid going to college again).
This past week a couple of friends and I spent three glorious days in Beijing, where I proceeded to spend large sums of money (OK, like $200). We dropped off our bags at the hostel on New Year’s Eve, then proceeded into town to find us a good party to ring in 2013.
The first bar we checked out, Slowboat Brewery, was close to the hostel and promised beer, champagne, and a festive party hat for a nominal entrance fee. Unfortunately, it had possibly the worst atmosphere of any bar ever: plastic picnic tables, glaring bright lights, and far too many foreign faces. Although an overheard conversation about Star Wars sounded promising, we turned tail and caught a taxi to Sanlitun to find ourselves a better party.
And a party we found. Sanlitun is well-known for its nightlife, and New Year’s Eve only amplified the ridiculosity. We wandered around looking for somewhere that charged less than 50RMB for a beer, didn’t have obnoxious dance music blaring, and where maybe, just maybe, we could find a place to sit. We wandered for a good half hour, going from bars with dancers pole-dancing in the window to a bar that was so busy, people were standing five-deep just to order a drink from the bar. We were getting desperate as the clock approached 11pm, but then we found it.
Taps proved itself to be a little piece of paradise. We snatched two seats and a box to sit on at the bar, where we could watch soccer on TV and listen to the DJ jamming out techno beats at a pleasant volume. Before we knew it, we downed an excessive number of shots, some of which were free (thank you, bartender with the amazing hair). We also got a platter CHOCK FULL of cheese for free, because every waiter in the place kept forgetting about it. My klepto friend also proceeded to borrow indefinitely one tiny spoon, several drink stirrers, and an ashtray. At some point, I heard a bunch of yelling and wondered what they could possibly be making such a ruckus about. Oh, 2013. Right.
We eventually meandered our way outside, where my friend bought a couple of jianbing (delicious pancake things), then proceeded to spit it out on the sidewalk because it supposedly tasted like fish. Anyway, she gave it to me (yum), and watching her trying to get the imaginary fish taste out of her mouth was more than entertaining. My other friend breaking down into a sobbing fit over her breakup with her boyfriend eight months previously was less entertaining, but you can’t choose what kind of drunks your friends turn into.
All in all, it was a splendid New Year’s celebration, although I think we went a little heavy on the tequila. Now I leave you with some prime Chenglish examples from our stay in Beijing.