Posted by Evan on Saturday, 18 June 2005 at 11:47 am
If there’s one global industry that’s screaming out for reform it’s drug dealing. Of the plethora of global consumer industries drug dealing is simultaneously the most profitable and the most unreliable. Dealers who can be consistently relied upon for quality, quantity, and promptness are incredibly hard to find. In China this is particularly so, as the penalty for drug dealing is execution by firing squad, whereas penalties for drug use are comparatively lenient. This creates unchecked demand from recreational uses, who don’t fear capture, but conversely drives up prices and drives down quality as dealers are exposed to an increased level of risk.
As such Sergio and I were unable to score any e for this weekend, and I had to make do with a mediocre pill left over from last week. Having settled into a routine of weeknight beer drinking, and weekend dance club revelry the last few weeks have been a lot of fun, but a little monotonous. Last night was no different in this regard, as Sergio and I headed down to Mix and Babi clubs for a night of dancing.
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Posted by Evan on Monday, 13 June 2005 at 1:53 pm
My time here in China has been quite an experience lately. The academic year is coming to an end and so most of my classes are finishing up over the next two weeks. As a result it’s left me questioning what I want to do next. Maybe I will stay in Chengdu and teach for another semester. My concern, however, is that I have made so many great friends here, most of whom are leaving soon, that if I stay behind then I’ll be constantly comparing everything to how it was before (and probably find it lacking). On the other hand I am considering traveling through Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam as an alternative option to staying in China.
My lifestyle here in Chengdu is, surprisingly, somewhat reminiscent of my time in Amsterdam. As many of my friends are grappling with the same questions of what to do next, we’re all making an effort to enjoy ourselves to the absolute maximum–with a complete disregard for our health.
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Posted by Evan on Monday, 6 June 2005 at 11:46 am
My Chinese girlfriend, Li Dong Dong, came to my apartment today with what she promised would be a “great surprise.”
Indeed she was right… the last thing I was expecting was a home made cake with “I love you Evan!” emblazoned into the icing. The particular irony being that until the day before she wasn’t even sure what my name was.
Is it just me, or is this a little sudden from a girl I’ve know for all of 10 days?
Posted by Evan on Saturday, 4 June 2005 at 11:45 am
Whilst I’ve mentioned baijiu in several previous posts, I may have shied away from revealing the full extent of its corrupting influence. More than anything else I have ever known, Baijiu makes people stupid.
Last night some friends and I all met for dinner in a local Indian restaurant. Unfortunately O had been enjoying the company of baijiu prior to arrival. So much so that shortly after arriving he vomited bile under a seat cushion and had to be chased, by me, down the middle of one of Chengdu’s main streets, in the rain, without shoes on. After catching up with him and sending him home in a taxi, I returned to the restaurant to find that Sergio and J were getting stuck into a bottle of baijiu that they had bought earlier. As J proceeded to get drunker and drunker I explained to him the ill advisedness of taking ecstasy after drinking so much. Seeing the seriousness of my intention not to give him any drugs he consented to going home while Sergio, Chloe and I got a taxi to Mix club.
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Posted by Evan on Friday, 27 May 2005 at 11:44 am
Last night saw Olen, Jon and I enjoying the local club scene here in Chengdu. Chinese dance clubs, or discos as they insist on calling them, are an interesting phenomenon. Hugely popular with young, rich Chinese, they play a combination of inane Chinese pop and outdated Western music–most of which was popular three to five years ago. Despite this, they can be hugely good fun. You rarely need to pay for more than your first drink, as the complicated social hierarchy of Chinese face will soon see you fighting off offers of free drinks.
As these clubs are exclusively frequented by rich Chinese–who else can afford 30 yuan drinks?–the general Chinese obsession with face and social standing is heightened. All of the tables are pre-booked, some weeks in advance, and the bigger and better placed your table the more face you gain. This also applies to drinks; more face is to be gained by being seen drinking expensive drinks than cheap ones. Presumably as a product of huge overpopulation one of the most desirable things in China is to be noticed in social settings. For a fortunate foreigner who stumbles into such a situation this can be quite beneficial, as what better way to gain the attention of your peers than to be seen drinking and dancing with massively tall, pale skinned, foreigners?
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Posted by Evan on Saturday, 21 May 2005 at 11:43 am
Today began like any other day, without a hint of the turmoil that was to come…
The local Irish pub, the Shamrock, had for some time been advertising a rugby game between a group of Chengdu locals and a visiting team from Guangzhou. Jon, being a former semi-professional rugby player, was of course keen to put up his hand. After our close 4th quarter loss to the visiting team everyone started making arrangements to head across town to the after party–held on the roof top of a 6 story apartment building.
Having arrived at the party late, I found Lisa already pissed with me, for spending most of the rugby match chatting to Anne. As Anne and I hadn’t properly spoken in a long time–we’d had a falling out almost two months earlier–I tried to explain to Lisa that she had nothing to be jealous about. Nonetheless she was mad, and being in no mood to spend all evening placating her, I sat down with some friends and had a drink.
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Posted by Evan on Saturday, 7 May 2005 at 4:16 pm
Waking up just in time to grab some take-away breakfast at a local café, we legged it back to the station and jumped on our bus. Luckily the incredibly cramped Chinese seats I had dreaded sitting on turned out better than I expected. Thankfully someone had ripped the seat in front on me out of the floor, so I was able to stretch my legs out for the journey. Nothing quite as memorable as our trip to Songpan happened on our way back, mostly because Jon was feeling quite healthy. Olen, however, spied a small plastic bottle of baijiu at the first rest stop and everything started to go downhill. A 60% alcohol, hard liquor served in a convenient sport’s bottle with a hands free pop-up lid! The Chinese truly are an inventive people. This made the hours pass a little quicker at first, and then a whole lot slower, when the driver didn’t stop for a toilet break for over four hours.
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Posted by Evan on Friday, 6 May 2005 at 12:57 pm
In accordance with the deal we’d struck with Sergio, he returned to Chengdu, while the three of us went out on a day trip to visit a Tibetan monastery. By the time we’d woken, Sergio’s bus had already departed, so we grabbed some breakfast and walked down to meet the guides. As our trip today did not involve an overnight stay we weren’t carrying much luggage and were able to actually ride the horses, as opposed to the luggage. Before we could leave, however, Olen and I made a quick dash down the street to buy cowboy hats, as neither of us wanted our sunburn to get worse.
After a couple of hours of riding we came upon the beautiful Tibetan monastery that was our destination for the day. Dismounting the horses at the entrance to the grounds, we left the guides to set up lunch and wandered about. As we circled the buildings in a clock-wise fashion–that being the only appropriate way to circumnavigate Buddhist temples–we encountered several gnarled old women, doing their prayer rounds. Climbing to the top of hill on which sat the temple’s stupa, we surveyed the region around us and marveled at its beauty.
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Posted by Evan on Thursday, 5 May 2005 at 11:33 am
The wind that had plagued us throughout the night had not abated by morning. We hurriedly ate breakfast, while huddling in the log cabin, before packing up camp and heading off in the direction of Songpan—having finally ceded to Sergio’s increasingly desperate entreaties to return. As we rode further up the mountain, in the same direction we had been heading the previous day, it became apparent that we were going to ride across a shoulder of snow and ice-capped land that joined the two adjacent mountains.
As the ground turned icy the horses started to lose their footing, repeatedly stumbling and sliding on the inhospitable ground—particularly my horse, which seemed to have lost its surefootedness after its fall the previous day. Jon, who through the natural pecking order of the horses, was behind me had the delightful sight of watching my horse repeatedly slip on the ice-covered ground and teeter precariously upon the edge of undoubtedly fatal drops. I on the other hand could only speculate as to how close I was to danger, due to the inordinate amount of luggage that obscured my view for about one meter in all directions around me. Jon became so nervous at the constant threat of danger that he dismounted and refused to ride any further. The guides found this immensely amusing and explained to Jon that yesterday he was a man, but today his is a woman. To give Jon his dues, however, he openly owned his cowardice and agreed with them, in Mandarin, that he was in fact a woman.
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Posted by Evan on Wednesday, 4 May 2005 at 1:30 pm
Day three began well, as we all woke in good moods, having had a much better night’s sleep than the day before–the lack of snow and rain helped. Over breakfast the issue of Sergio’s health resurfaced. Having promised him that we’d return after visiting the hot-springs we were a little put out that he now wanted us to make good on that promise. Impervious to our logical arguments about his spontaneous recovery the day before, he obstinately insisted on returning to Songpan. After discussing our predicament with the other trekking group, who were heading back into town themselves, the idea was floated that we could ditch Sergio with them and continue as a group of three. Unfortunately this was not to be–for safety reasons there needed to be one guide to each two trekkers, thus necessitating that one of the girls switch with Sergio, or one of us head back with him. Not being able to find any takers, we convinced Sergio to tough it out for another day. As we back-tracked down the asphalt road, the one we had come up the previous day, Sergio’s illness reared its hypochondriac head. He noticeably worsened as the girls disappeared into the distance, so much so that our guides–who could not understand a word of his incessant complaining–commented on the coincidence of his remarkable decline in health and the girls’ departure.
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