Birthdays in Beijing

As many of you know my birthday was this past week, but what you probably might not know is that two days before my birthday was another teacher, Ben’s birthday. We knew that Qinhuangdao wasn’t the right venue to celebrate our birthdays so we decided to go to Beijing to celebrate properly.

When we got to Beijing we had most of the day to kill before we were going to go out at night. We had already seen all the touristy sights of Beijing so we decided to go to the zoo. The weather was gorgeous and the zoo was packed because it was a holiday weekend (Tomb Sweeping Festival). I hadn’t been to the zoo in maybe 10 years. It was fun to just walk around and see all of the animals. I actually saw a lot of animals that I had never seen before.

The funny thing about the zoo in China is that it is a total mess. Nobody follows any of the rules put forth by the zoo. Pretty much everyone was throwing food into the cages so the animals would eat and move around. The bear cages were littered with trash, and I even saw someone climb onto the top of the rhino cage and hit the rhino. It seemed like complete chaos.

For dinner we went to Peter’s Tex-Mex Grill again, which in hind sight probably wasn’t the best idea because it gave me horrible gas. But dinner was good and we then went out. First we went to a few bars in a section of town called Sanlitun.  We went to a few bars first and as we were about to leave for the club we passed the pole dancing bar that we had been to before. My friends being the horny, horny men that they are decided to stop by. But before we went in, we negotiated the price of the beers. So as a screw you to us for negotiating the price down, they placed us in the corner of the bar with all of their electrical equipment, even though right next to us was an empty booth. It was hard not to laugh at the situation.

We then headed over to the clubs. There are two clubs right next to each other, one is called MIX and the other is called VICS. MIX has mostly an Asian crowd while VICS has a mix of Asians and foreigners. I had never seen so many gorgeous Asian women in my life. It seemed like everywhere I looked there was a drop dead gorgeous looking girl. I am definitely sensing a little yellow fever creeping up.

The clubs were fun and after jumping around from club to club and sweating my ass off on the dance floor we called it a night.

On Tuesday morning I was up and out at 9 am to watch the NCAA National Championship game. I met up with my friend Sam Drieman and we went to a sports bar that was showing the game. When we first arrived, the place was empty. Slowly but surely more and more people started to trickle in. I always like to root for the underdog so I was really pulling for Butler. Let me just say, what an ugly game. It reminded me of when I played JDS basketball, where we just hoisted threes all day long. The difference was that my team actually made our threes.

After the game I met up with my friends. They wanted to go back to Peter’s Tex-Mex Grill. So after going for the second time in two days, we headed to the 798 art district. The 798 art district used to be this old factory compound that has been transformed into a type of artist colony. There were tons of different art galleries and street performers; it was really a cool place to just wander about. The funniest part was watching a street performer sing Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” but with his Chinese accent he was mispronouncing a lot of the words. He was singing locking and not knocking on heaven’s door.


(Made out of cement bricks)



Photo shoot on the street

Locking on Heaven's Door

Sign reads: Man At Work


After a long day we got back on the train and headed back to Qinhuangdao. I had a great time celebrating my birthday. Now it’s back to work.


About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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