Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekend Update (with Andrew Blatt)

Okay, so on Wednesday evening I went with Li Jing to the airport. Once there I picked up my luggage and my new upstairs neighbor. Said neighbor is a pretty cool chick named Julie. I think she's decided that we're going to be friends and I'm cool with that.

As a result of having my essentials once again, I was in a much better mood on Thursday and considerably less stinky than I had been Monday through Wednesday. This made me a much better teacher. I'm going to have to make it up to my Tuesday and Wednesday classes next week for being so grumpy and by-the-book. Also notable about Thursday was the arrival of my other upstairs neighbor, an extremely awesome dude named Dan. Dan is starting his second year of teaching here at Jianghan, is pretty serious about studying his Chinese, and (I'm told) has a Chinese girlfriend. All of these things combine to make him a pretty useful man to have around in China because he speaks much better Chinese than 90% of his fellow Foreign English Teachers.

Yesterday (Friday), I got to be an extra in some sort of documentary that is being made about the Communist Party and its history in China (I think). We were apparently doing some sort of scene for a reenactment of a historical event, I think several important Party leaders arriving in Wuhan in 1927. The upshot of this is, I spent 10 hours standing in the sun in a ridiculous outfit (I'll try to post some pictures later) that was supposed to be a "sailor's" uniform, but looked a lot more like a French painter or window washer. It was hot, and sort of miserable, but also pretty fun. If the thing ends up panning out and I get a copy of it, I'll do my best to share any clips with me in them so you can all have a laugh. It might take quite a long time though, so don't hold your breath.

So yeah, being a movie star ended with me irritated and a little bit sunburned, but after a shower, some mandolinning on the porch, and dinner with Dan, Derek, and Julie I felt much much better. Then the four of us got some beer and drank it on the roof. After that, I went with several of the other teachers across the city to check out the Wuhan club scene. We went 3 places, the Prison Bar, a little hookah place across the street from it, and a club called Vox. The Prison bar was nice because it seems to cater to Westerners. Half of the bar staff were Caucasian and the other half were also fluent in English, so ordering wasn't a problem. It is a very very small place, though so it got very crowded. The Jianghan teachers managed to acquire several hangers-on throughout the night. Most of these were acquaintances of my colleagues who teach at other schools in the city. There was literally no one else in the hookah bar when our enormous contingent of tipsy foreigners rolled in and filled up the place. It was nice, but sort of boring after a while. After the two returning teachers who had been acting as our guides left, the remaining five Jianghan instructors decided that instead of calling it a night and going home, we would get dangerously drunk in Vox and then try to negotiate a taxi home using the Chinese characters for our school that our guides had scribbled into my notebook before they left.

Vox was. . . kind of like home. For my Purdue readers out there, imagine something sort of like a middle ground between Where Else? and the Neon Cactus, but much much cooler than either of those places. The beer was sort of expensive by Chinese standards, but not very expensive at all by American ones and there was quite a lot of foreign beer to be had. We danced, we drank, we danced, we drank some more.

Surprise ending: none of us died.

Hell of a lot of fun.


  1. comment comment comment.
    such fascinating material! :P
    fo reals though, glad you didn't die. and drinking on the roof sounds like fun! can I join too?

  2. Man, a mix between Where Else?! and the Cactus? Count me out. I'd much rather take my beers in the slow, murky haze of a place like the Checkerboard.

    Foreign bars are so fun though. Nice they spoke your language and you didn't have to use grunts and points like some kind of savage.