Sunday, October 19, 2008

A hutong pajama party

Night of Saturday, Oct. 18, post backdated from Oct. 20. From left to right: Lauren, Kevin, Roman, Matt, Joe. Please, everyone, notice Roman's pee-hole.

On his pajamas, you sickos.

At the south entrance to Nanluoguxiang we spied twenty to twenty-five East Germans, a scary sight for any partygoer wishing to retain his happy buzz (they emit radioactive ions of nippiness, you know). Reid, however, was nonplussed. He went to them like a Chinese boy charmed by the sight of a brown-bearded laowai and asked what they were about. A theater troupe waiting for their Chinese guide, apparently. He offered, with only the most heartfelt and generous of intents, a sip of his "snake blood," which was actually grenadine and vodka, contained inside a small fragrance bottle along with the coiled body of a baby cobra (authenticity unverified). The Germans -- about five men who sported poor hairstyles and terrible accents and a large assembly of fairly attractive to very attractive girls -- positively retched. Reid, again with a charismatic innocence that's either positively childlike or positively American, asked them to join our party. They refused. He asked again. They refused again. And so on it went for a while.

Later that night Reid (on the right in the picture) spotted the Germans again while we were inside a bar called Salud and they were wandering on the street outside, pondering whether to enter. They made eye contact, and the Germans blanched. Reid produced the snake bottle with the red liquid and slowly waved it like a pendant, an inviting glint in his eye. As he told it the next afternoon (paraphrasing), "They ran away. I literally drove them into a second-class bar."


Inside, Joe was being Joe, half-naked with his oversized pint of beer while inappropriately stealing kisses from the ladies -- one in particular named Sarah. She wore hot pink PJs that were obviously too small and, if not for the gray tights on the legs, could have with flying colors passed for a cheap whore in the vein of the one who took Stephen Dedalus's virginity in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Her kisses too would have been wet, yes they would have.

Jeff Orcutt was there with a straw hat that got passed around from head to head. Lauren was trying to convince Sarah, Joe and Matt to play a drinking game in which two pairs of partners drink out of the same glass, and whichever pair finishes first -- drinking at the same time, lips touching -- wins something or other. Kevin rocked a pair of sunglasses. Others drank more.

The details I don't remember or if I do I don't feel particularly inclined to share. There was conspiracy and conniption. There may have been a mole. There were some who were drunker than others, and others who blacked out. For all I know there may have been a stabbing in the back room, but I highly doubt there was. There was a good time.

Jeff, Roman and Matt

Much after our pre-party drinks had kicked in -- Matt, Roman, Joe, Sarah and I drank a wide variety, as the picture will show, while watching The Transformers, a movie that was beyond awesome for all the wrong reasons, i.e. in all the it's-a-Michael-Mann-movie sort of way -- Reid stepped outside and again saw the East Germans. A couple guys, like lost sheep, had wandered away from the safety of their homestead and were now staring into the steely eyes of their new worst enemy.

Reid looked.

They looked.

Reid made like he was reaching for the snake wine.

They bolted.


As these things happen, the alcohol -- including that which no one dares speak its name -- began taking hold and the world stopped making sense. Some sounds were no longer audible (one's own voice) while others were accentuated. No longer did Earth rotate from west to east but from whatever direction the bar was to the chair. Wooden supports and bathroom pictograms suddenly looked fuckable.

By the end there were five of us guys left, and I spied a table of five ladies. Five of them and five of us, I said. Joe took a seat a little ways away from the table and was joined by a brunette bird with a British accent. She had a glazed look in her eyes and was not particularly keen on smiling.

You guys look nice.

Oh thank you.

It's good to look nice.

Yeah, yeah it is. Where did you all go tonight?

Oh, blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah.

Oh, cool.

Well, I gotta go.

Okay. Bye.

Nice talking to you.

Yes, you too.


We sat down at a restaurant after a fairly long walk and ordered three dishes and some chuan'r. A group of Chinese patrons sitting in a nearby table took off without paying their bill of 70 kuai, which Lauren noticed and alerted the boss. Joe took off after them, giving dead chase for a block or two before losing them. (They were on motorbikes.) The boss came back and spoke with his wife, confused and probably mad as hell.

Lauren and Kevin decided to drop a few extra RMBs to cover their bill. Ours was 85 but we left 150.

Not everyone remembers doing this. I'll give you a hint:


1 comment:

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