Sunday, January 27, 2008

adios beijing

j-term is over. and so is my time in beijing. it was a fast, challenging and ridiculous month, and i am now ready to move on. before we start the spring semester in hangzhou, we have two and a half weeks off...chika chika yeah. initially, a few friends and i had a crazy plan to slowly make our way down to hong kong to celebrate the chinese new years (feb. 7-9). sooooo naive. turns out, and not surprisingly, buying a train ticket is incredibly hard to do this time of year as everybody and their fucking mother is trying to get home..hellllo population problem. it took me back to the days when my family would gather at my dads office, all on different phones with the chicago bulls box office number on speed dial trying to score a few standing room only tickets to watch that glorious dynasty. except this time it involved waiting in line for three hours, scrambling among fifty aggressive chinese people. so yeah, we had to ditch the lavish plan of spending 30+ hours on hard-sleeper trains and three days on a chinese passenger boat along the yangzte river, and will now be roughing it up on a three hour plane ride to explore the south--hong kong, macau, guangzhou, etc--at my friend's supposedly extravagant house in zhuhai. but no worries, there is plenty of time for me to fulfill my darjeeling limited fantasy, jason schwartzman included.

so yeah, i had some pretty nutso experiences in this place, but i would have to say that the most terrifying, most absurdly awkward moment occurred trying to take a shower at the twelve star fitness center. you will never know real fear and confusion until you are forced to share eight curtain-less showers with thirty naked chinese women. nobody is your friend here. nobody. there is no good way to explain the intricate process, but trust me, my awkwardness reached new heights.

ok. its been fun beijing, don't forget me? xoxo

Monday, January 21, 2008 a wedding?

hola amigos. what's shakin'? i know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but the waters are not always smooth in lake whelanwuest (reward to whoever knows the genius behind this... ). so, my most recent chinese escapade took me to 黄骅 (huanghua), a little town three hours outside beijing--if western avenue was a town, this would be it, albeit with more fluorescent lights. one of my chinese roommates high school friends (got that?) got married, so i was my roommate's date. seriously, words cannot describe the amazingly awkward experiences i encountered. i essentially was the foreign exchange student from 'can't hardly wait'. they all spoke a dialect, which i did not understand, so it was two days filled with blank stares and fake laughs. nonetheless, the bride, groom and their parents were excited to have me there, which they expressed by holding my hands... a lot.

so, the last wedding i attended involved several hundred irish catholics drinking and dancing in a large tent, followed by a mods-esque after-party in a motel parking lot with a keg. yeeeaaah, the chinese do things a little differently than the whelans. after waking up at 4:30am, we went to the bride's home and watched her get ready for two hours...enthralling. then we went to the groom's house, where they had a five minute ceremony outside in the freezing cold. after they shot off firecrackers that sounded more like a machine guns, everybody sprinted inside where we spent the following two hours in a bedroom. if middle schoolers had a wedding, this is how i imagine it would be. for those two hours i stood at the side of the room in a comatose and watched as the groom's younger brother--who sort of reminded me of a chinese chuck bass, minus the looks, martini, turtleneck and billionaire father, yeah, i don't know why--attempted to wrestle with the bride, and as her friends protected her from such aggressive behavior...see video. finally, at 9am, i was able to take a much needed nap. the lunch banquet was great, A LOT of food and drunk men (at 11:30am). to end the day, my roommate took me to a foot massage parlor....'nuff said.

all in all, it was a valuable, uncomfortable, exhausting and entertaining experience. below are some images and multimedia.

a tradition? i just don't know.

the couple.
yes. i can't wait for my wedding photos.
if only you could see the full album.
an airbrushed masterpiece.
this man, who apparently is already married and was wastey face(notice the asian flush), was mad hitting on that girl. so the one dude at our table kept filling up him up and offering toasts. at one point--behind his back, of course--he made a beer-bai jiu (direct translation: white alcohol, basically, china's vodka) concoction. after downing it, the baller spat it out all over the floor. no shame.

endnote: look mama, i didn't swear once, you fucking happy now?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

teahouse... or carnie show?

so last night, we went to the Lao She teahouse, a replica of an ancient teahouse where you sip on tea, eat snacks and watch various performances. this post requires no words. just watch the video.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

look ma! i'm a tourist

i fucking hate tourists. mostly the way they stick out with their maps, fanny packs, cameras,
enthusiasm, etc... but, i figured, since i don't fit in here anyway, and i am in china, i guess i should check out the hot spots. first place: tiananmen square. there was a good amount of white people there, but the chinese still couldn't get enough of us. i felt really, really cool. like, lindsay lohan-pre-snorting-cocaine-off-of-toilets-cool (although, that shit is savage, too). for instance, when we took a picture of the six americans, within seconds, about five to ten randos surrounded us snapping away, and a few even jumped in the picture. second place: the great wall. did you know that there is a chair lift and a toboggan slide on the great wall? that shit's crazy. of course, i didn't bother, instead i walked up the 600 meters of stairs. loook at me. but in all seriousness, the great wall was pretty neat. like, finding-a-pistachio-outside-it's-shell-neat.

i'm currently having a love affair with similies.

this goes against the theme of this post, but it's worth mentioning. last night i went to a spinning class, and it was everything i hoped a chinese spin class could ever be. first of all, the translation outside the door read 'speeding', obviously, the superior title. everybody had their own headphones and they played absolutely terrible/amazing english techno music. the last song, however, was accompanied by a plump little man in the front row singing, no, yelling, the lyrics...really, no words can describe it.

here are some nice little candids for y'all.

so cliche. so wrong, but so right.
sup mao?
that shit is so..... great?
ok, so that dude was old. and the chic was young.
the first time she called him 'daddy' i wanted to
believe that it really was her father. but after she
called him 'steve' and the way he so, softly?, carassed/petted
her, my worst fears came true. although, props man.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

old spice

so. deodorant doesn't really exist in china. up until recently this hasn't posed a huge problem, that is, until i joined a gym. quick story: my friend, miss ann montgomery and i went to a gym that we had heard cost 300RMB ($40USD) for a month membership. when we got there, however, a major creepster whose english name is 'ace'--he LOVED ann, kept telling her how blue her eyes were and would then sketchily stare into them--told us we had to pay 888RMB ($120USD). so we were like fuck that and left. 10 minutes later, 'ace' called us and lowered the price to 300RMB.... baller!

i digress. anyways, yesterday i was getting my treadmill on, and struggled a little, not because i was tired, but because the man next to me smelled like a rotting deer carcass--speaking of which, i was all like "yo, man, get some old spice!"...but not really. so yeah, china smells.

my new shower shoes.
adorable, no?
my new boyfriend. hunk.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

snoopy, squatting and a stripper

you might be wondering maeve, why are you posting a picture of a weird urinal on your blog? well, my devoted fans--yes, thats what you all are--this is a picture of the women's bathroom in a chinese mcdonalds (don't worry, i didn't actually eat there, just went to warm up and pee). looks like my stellar squatting skills that people tried to tell me didn't matter, suddenly pay off. also, in china, it's b.y.o.TP.

another reason why china has thus far made me happy: the seats in a police patrol car/van have snoopy on them, and why not? that little guy is adorable.

finally, here are some pictures from our 新年 (new years) celebration. yes chinese bars!