The Life Of The Party

When we go out drinking two things can happen; we could either be totally ignored by the local Chinese and be seen as intruding outsiders/foreigners or we could be embraced and seen as local celebrities to drink and have fun with. Last night, the latter happened.

We started the night at Wu Gong’s restaurant and we knew we were in for a treat when the moment we sat down a drunk man came by and started chatting to us. Every five minutes he would come over to our table and gambei with us (which is similar to saying cheers, but with gambei you have to drink it all).

After eating we heading over to a bar called 798 (which is actually a very clever name for a bar here in China because in Chinese 798 is qi, jiu, ba, and the Chinese word for bar is jiuba, so it’s a cute play on words). 798 is a rather small bar but it has a karaoke stage in the front. We found a booth by the front and the moment we sat down people started coming up to us, wanting to talk and drink with us.

These guys who were sitting behind us were college aged students and spoke decent English so we chatted with them.

After chatting with them for a while these two other guys came over wanting to hang out with us. One spoke pretty good English and the other, a very round looking fellow, who was completely hammered didn’t speak a word of English.


The round looking dude kept on pounding his chest. I wasn’t sure if it was to show how strong he was or out of pride, but throughout the night he was pounding his chest and asking if we were pengyou, friends. Not wanting to be outdone or in an effort to egg him on (I’m not sure which), when he pounded his chest I would pound mine and shout louder than him. At first he was taken aback but it then turned into a friendly shouting match. He then took off his shirt and started to flex, he was really drunk and I decided it was better to let him think he won then to start challenging his manliness.


As I mentioned earlier, 798 has a karaoke stage, so of course I had to get up and sing. We sang two songs, the first was Billie Jean by Michael Jackson and the second one was some Leanne Rhymes song. (Listen, don’t make fun of us for singing a Leanne Rhymes song, it was one of the only songs we knew we could sing while still being drunk.) Although we didn’t have the best voices in the bar, we were still the biggest hit because everyone was cheering for us since we were foreigners singing an English song.

Later in the night I saw a guy get up to sing a song, he was completely hammered and didn’t have a shirt on. Not wanting him to feel out of place or embarrassed I took of my shirt, jumped on stage and joined him in singing the song. Not knowing any of the words to the song (because it was in Chinese) I just kept on repeating the words, ni hao (hello) over and over again.


As the night continued, people kept ordering us more and more drinks. We were all having a fun time. At one point the round Chinese man challenged one of the other teachers, Justin, to an arm wrestling match. The thing is, Justin is an ex-marine. So it was no problem for Justin to beat him. Justin told me later that he had to pretend to take longer to beat him because he didn’t want to hurt this guy’s feelings.

The night was winding down and we were getting ready to leave when the laoban, owner, came over to us and gave us a bill for 200RMB. We were surprised to get a bill because everyone else was ordering us beers and in China if you order/get beers for someone else, you pay for it. But we didn’t want to make any more problems with the owner because earlier in the year, Sam told him to “go f%#k his mother.” So we paid the bill and called it a night.


About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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