Thursday, April 02, 2009

I Want My KTV!

I woke us this morning singing. I had a Backstreet Boys song in my head and I couldn't stop humming, "I want it that way...Tell me why...Ain't nothin' but a heartache..."

No, Steve and I aren't breaking up.

No, I don't even really like the Backstreet Boys.

No, it wasn't stuck there because I found a radio station in Beijing that plays your favorite hits from the 80s, 90s, and today.

The reason this song, as well as REM's "Losing My Religion" and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild," were on my mental play list was because of an outing we shared with Steve's Beida students last night. For the first time, I had the opportunity to experience KTV...Chinese style!

Karaoke is a very popular past time here. There are KTV establishments all over the city. Decorated in neon lights, 17 Miles KTV (our venue of choice) housed a maze of baofang (private rooms) ranging from small to large. Our room had a large leather couch and comfortably sat around ten people. Free snacks and soft drinks were available (and word has it that if you come in around lunch time, there is a free buffet). We arrived around 6:30 pm...on a Wednesday night, no less...and the place was packed. Every room we passed was full. Sound proof rooms let hardly a sound out, but all it took was a peek through the small windows to see that everyone in every room was having a great time.

And so did we. In fact, I'm wondering why we hadn't tried this sooner. I really thought I would be nervous of singing in front of people I don't very well, but for some reason, when the music started, so did I. While the selection of English-language songs was a bit limited, there were just enough tunes to get the Ballas going. In addition, Steve's students were belting out both Chinese and English songs with voices like the angels.

While the nature of KTV definitely takes me back to the 80s (Wurlitzer's and JJ Rocker's come to mind), the innocence of sharing a few songs and a few soft drinks (or beer if you prefer) was refreshing. We had no qualms about bringing Julie and Z there, and I, personally, am ready to head back for another go-round. My vocal cords were just getting warmed up!

Step aside, Ms. Scialfa...I may be coming after your job when I get back!



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