Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Partying Like It's 1989...Or Hubei Province, Mountain Momma

One of my handlers in Wuhan, Mr. Li (do you know him?), suggested we might go to a bar one night during my visit. Sure...why not? So long as I avoid the dreaded baijiu, it should be a good time.

(We stuck to Budweiser...served warm...with ice cubes...)

Stepping into Fucui Club, I was immediately transported back in time. It was like that club in Piscataway we went to during our college years. (What was the name of that place, Sharon?) Tables everywhere. Elaborate lighting system, complete with strobe effects. A few small stages.

The stages were used by the club's staff. Every now and then, one of them would jump up on a stage and do some singing or dancing. One guy did some hip-hop rapping. The words were Chinese, but the moves were definitely American.

My favorites were these three dancers who were dressed in these kind of track suits, with those long gloves that Madonna used to wear. (What was the name of that movie?)

One particularly enthusiastic guy came up to me and asked, "Can you speak English?" (Now there's a question I don't usually get.) When I answered hui "("Yes, I can."), he seemed very impressed. Not by the fact that I answered in Chinese, but that I could speak English.

And then there was the highlight of the evening. Much of the music being mixed consisted of old American songs, reset to techno dance beats. There was "Shout" by Tears For Fears. "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees. And my favorite..."Country Road." So there I was, my arm around Wang Ping (another one of my handlers), singing this old American classic in a room full of young Chinese people. Just when I thought I had this place all figured out...

And we were not even done yet. After many ganbeis, we headed out, presumably to drive back to my hotel. Wrong again. Well after midnight, we pulled up to this nondescript-looking place. Wang Ping announced that we were going for some "health care for our feet." Sure enough, there we were, a few minutes later, in a private room, getting our feet washed and massaged.

No...really...I am not making this up...



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