The Accident of Birth
Read: The Power of the Green Card.
So far, the only guanxi I have made in Beijing have been women. On our first venture on to the BNU campus a few days ago, we asked two girls for help finding an internet bar so we could check our email and track our luggage (which, as of 9/4/09) have not left Shanghai, as far as I know. I have been living off of four days’ worth of clothes for the past three weeks, but eh, it could be worse. At least I have underwear, and the washing machine costs $7.00 for ten prepaid washes. Anyway, the two girls, 李佳融 and 韩芯谊，helped us find an internet bar, and being the gracious Chinese that they were, they gave us their phone numbers and told us to call them if we had any trouble.
That night we introduced the girls to gin and tonic. For a country that has no drinking age limit, it seems like the average American in my generation has infinitely more experience with alcohol than any of the Chinese people I have met. It was very reminiscent of eighth grade, the way they acted with a little sauce in them. Cute, though.
Speaking of alcohol, one of the most disappointing things I have found in China is the beer. Chinese beer tastes like soda water. Whether it’s Qingdao, Suntory, Haerbin, Taiwan, they all taste roughly the same–like nothing. That was until we found the Tube Express Bistro. Thank God and all that’s holy for this little piece of America. Located right across from the BNU campus’s east gate, this place serves everything from schawarma to philly cheese steak to roasted eggplant to black truffle mushroom pizza. All of that pales in comparison, however, to the fact that they serve an AMERICAN MICROBREW. Rogue Brewery’s Dead Guy Ale is proudly served (for a reasonable 25RMB/bottle) at the Tube, imported all the way from Oregon.
Anyway, We have been hanging with Jia-rong and Xin-yi quite a lot; they have introduced us to a nice selection of what Beijing has to offer. Houhai, where the expats hang out, as well as some of the historical sites, as well as shopping. All in all, fun girls to hang out with.
Scott and I do not get too much ass in China. I have some prior commitments (Hey Claudia), and Scott–’nuff said. Needless to say, we do a lot of babe watching. During our wait in the Chengdu airport on the way to Beijing, we happened to sit next to this gorgeous Chinese girl, completely decked out in a traditional Chinese qipao. It was kickass. Couple that with a Canon XSi and an 18-270mm zuperzoom, and you get some lurker-style photography.
We spent the subsequent hour and a half making lewd comments, taking not-so-subtle photos, and generally just making her super uncomfortable. Woe to her when she ended up sitting next to us on the flight. Anyway, after a while we lost interest (for about ten minutes, till she shifted her legs and opened up those qipao skirt slits. To all the female readers– I know. ‘Ugh, men…’) Props to her for dealing with four hours of what in the good ol’ states would be considered overt sexual harassment.
At the end of the flight, she stood up, turned to us, and handed us both her business card. Then she grabbed her stuff and high-tailed it the hell outta the fuselage and into the abyss that is Beijing Int’l Airport pedestrian traffic. Scott and I laughed, slapped hands, and proceeded on our merry American path of destruction. A few days later, I get a yell from Scott, saying how we are going to meet Lucy from the airplane at Houhai in a few days. Scott, the dog he is, got it done. A few days later, we went to meet Lucy.
Lucy, like most Chinese girls, look way hotter in traditional Chinese clothing. Forgive me for sounding chauvinistic (or don’t–whatever), but there is something very sexy about the qipao and the status of women time period when it was popular dress. If every girl in China still wore the qipao, the world (and especially a certain niche genre of a certain industry in the Valley) would be a happier place.
Long story short, Lucy is still a very pretty girl, but looks significantly less eye-catching when she is dressed like a Japanese middle schooler. Lucy took us around Houhai as we finally shared our first exchange of words. Turns out, part of the attractiveness of the qipao is that it adds an aura of sophistication, because Scott and I had both pegged Lucy as 25+. Turns out, she is a few months younger than both of us. Also, fortunate for us, Lucy does not speak virtually any English. That takes care of the things we said about her at the airport, but I am sure the photos were not as lost in translation.
After walking around and getting to know Lucy (who reminds me a lot of a Calabasas girl–carefree, fairly dimmer than I care to associate myself, and no concept of the object of money. Good thing she didn’t speak enough English to completely fit the stereotype, and was funny and cute enough to quash that snap judgment quickly. After an hour or two of getting to know Lucy, we met up with her friend Linda. I ended up chatting with Linda for most of the rest of the day, as we toured the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower, North of the Forbidden City. They took us to eat chao ganr, which is a goopy, sludgy looking soup with pork liver and intestines. Evidently it is a traditional delicacy. Honestly, I’m pretty open in terms of what I’ll stick in my mouth. If it wasn’t so damn hard to find, I’d try dog. But I just don’t understand whose idea it was to butcher a pig, squeeze the shit outta its intestines, boil it with some garlic, and munch down. Pork is so damn cheap in China, I just don’t understand why they eat the organs that deal with the end-products of the digestive system. Needless to say, I ate the whole bowl. When in China, right?
We walked around with the girls and let them shop some more, and I took some photos of them. Then we parted ways.
Barely two hours later, Scott and I are both inundated with texts from them saying how handsome we are, how awesome our Chinese is, and if we have considered them as girlfriends yet. Like this post is so aptly prefaced, “The Power of the Green Card”.
I’ll fill this up with the corresponding photos as soon as I get off on my lazy ass and sort, upload, edit, link, and post them to this post. If you were wondering why the hell it takes me six days from when I start writing an entry to when its actually posted, that’s why.
Love you all.