A Local Celebrity

So today I had a cool experience. There is a super market right next to EF (the place that I work) where I usually buy my lunch and dinner. And in their parking lot is a 16 wheeler parked. (It is one of those promotional trucks, where the sides come down to make a stage.) They are promoting a Chinese beer called Tsingtao, which was partnering with the NBA.

NBA Beer

A big crowd had gathered to watch the show. There was a singer and dancers and all this other stuff going on. All of a sudden the announcer starts calling people up to the stage. I had no clue what was going on. Then a woman, who was selling the beer on the side, grabs my arm and makes the motions with her arms asking me whether I want to drink or not. I say “peejo?” (which is one of the first words I learned which means beer in Chinese), and she nods her head yes. So I think “what they hell”, and before I realize what is happening I am being lead up on stage.

Beer promotion Singers and Dancers

Once the crowd saw an American/foreigner come up, everyone starts clapping. The announcer says in his broken English, “Welcome to Qinhuangdao. How are you?” I say thank you and that I was fine. The guy must have made some joke at my expense because everyone started to laugh, but who cared. I then shake hands with the five other competitors and we each grab a beer. Now I was not quite sure what was going on. Am I supposed to chug it or just drink it? I decide I better chug it just in case. The announcer counts 1, 2, 3…

I start chugging my beer. Now this is no can of beer, this is a half-liter worth of beer. It is warm and disgusting (the Chinese like warm beer), I want to throw up all over the stage but I keep the vomit down. I end up coming in third. I know, for an American and a recent college grad with loads of drinking experience I should have come in first. But, what are you going to do. We move on. Everyone cheers and I receive three beers as a consolation prize. Meanwhile there are photographers taking pictures of this event and they are all taking pictures of me. As I come off the stage, random people start coming up to me and are asking to take pictures with me. I felt like a local celebrity. As I’m walking away a group of guys invite me over to their table to drink beer with them, which of course I do (don’t want to be rude now do I?). All in all it was a pretty cool experience.

the local celebrity


About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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