Sunday, January 4, 2009

Year of the Ox

Finally I have a chance to reflect a little bit now that I am in Jingdezhen. I got here yesterday after spending some time in Seoul and Shanghai. In Seoul, Mr. Boesch showed me another great time on the town. We decided to skip the clubs this time and went out for a calmer evening of food, drinks and a hookah bar.

Mark, his friend whose name I forget, and I met some of the local flavour at the hookah bar and were joined the rest of the evening with two Seoul denizens. One of the ladies was a little intoxicated and a lot whiny, and she became a bit of an obnoxious addtion throughout the night while the other was not so much. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun with a large amount of laughter at the garbled conversations from both nationalities. The whiny one kept on teaching me the word 'stupid' in Korean, which I first thought she meant about me, then Mark, but in the end I believe she was actually speaking of herself. A little composure please, and more soju.


I left the next day for Shanghai feeling better than I did the last time I left Seoul. By that I mean with a minimal amount of sleep and a clean shirt. It is nice to enter a city in another country and know your way about, and without fault I found my way to Sonja's abode in the French Concession. I was suffering from some serious sleep deprivation over the past week and was a bit catatonic by the time I got there. Sonja, Kendra, and Cori, on the other hand, were well prepared for any and every thing. That first night we mildly chatted and sipped some wine until Kendra decided to make herself a rum & Baileys. Mind you the only rum in the house was 151. I don't get it either, but they rallied into a full on dance party while I pathetically laid on the couch trying to remember speech and keep my eyes open.

On the final day of 2008 we rested and debated how to finish this year off. This went on all day. Don't knock it, it was nice. We ended up meeting with some of their friends and headed to Captain's Hostel near the Bund. The place was packed and stuffy but afforded a nice view of PuDong.

Across the streeet we ventured to the House of Blues and Jazz, not to be confused with the House of Blues. Sonja and Kendra were already there dancing their faces off and the New Year came in a slow, arrythmic countdown that might have been a few minutes early. Nobody noticed or cared.
Auld Lang Syne-- I don't know the words but it will be my resolution to committ them to memory in preperation for next year. That and.... another language. I think I'll try to learn another language this year, I'll give Chinese a go while I'm here, but it is hard. Wo tingbudong. Plus, I must add that I succeeded in last year's resolution while in Wisconsin. Yes, friends-- a slam dunk. You didn't think I could do it, neither did I. But I have photographic proof.

We left the HBJ in the early minutes of 2009 for the Shelter; a smoky, grimy, cavernous expat club that is somewhere near somewhere else. Taxis were difficult so five of us crammed into some regular car and convinced the driver to take us there. Kendra decided to take a nap along the way and it was determined that she better head to the homestead to sleep it off. Sonja & I, however, chose to hop out of the non-taxi and head to another party to meet some people. Like I said, taxis were difficult to find so Sonja flagged down a motorcycle and convinced him to take us there. The following is an excerpt from my journal written the next day:

...packed three tight on a 250cc motorcycle in downtown Shanghai in 35 degree weather. One of the scariest/ most fun experiences. Traffic rules are more so guidelines in China and our driver ripped through the streets with Sonja and I hanging on for dear life... but sometimes you have to embrace the chaotic nature of life and let yourself go... the cards will fall wherever. Jacks & Queens atop the Joker and a spade. A heart surrounded by clubs. And a diamond in the rubble. I let my clenching fists go of the screaming motorbike and soared into the passing Shanghai night. I could have flown away. Head back, arms out, with a light heart and glistening eyes, all that I know was contained in that moment with the dark night whirling by. My life, my loves, my passions and fears, dreams and consequences, nightmares and desires All contained on a little Honda three speed with a beast, a flower, and a breeze...

We arrived at the party to learn that it was being held for the homosexual expat community of Shanghai. Including Sonja and myself, there were a total of five straight people at the bustling party. I found a nice comfortable spot very near the bar and spent the night enraptured in conversation with Ismene. Sonja was off and eventually departed with out us. I started to feel the walls come in a bit and Ismene and I headed off to the Shelter, where we found no one recognizable. Thus we gave in to the night and escaped to the solace of her wonderful home near the Bund. And 2009 rolled in with an epic adventure...

Oh, and I've been taking pictures with my phone. Sorry, I'll stop doing that now.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Your blog is definitely my fav lately. Maybe it's because it has featured Hacksaw. I see some resemblance there. What a kick ass Halloween costume that would be...