Blonde is the New Black


I’d like to start by saying…I never meant to go blonde.  

I wanted to go white!

Why?  Boredom…  Change… Excitement…  Drama… 

So I’ll tell the story from the top:

I decided, probably during first hair-dye job (last January) that I wanted to make my hair white at some point.  I think someone actually commented on a photo during the dye process (the foam from the dye made it look white) and said “You actually don’t look bad with white hair…” and the wheels were spinning….Yessssss, White it is.

Little did I realize, it’s actually notttttt that easy for someone with black hair to go white via dye.  

So it is Saturday, august 24th, and I wake up hungover at 9 AM which is extremely early for me (having gone to bed at about 5).  I drag myself out of bed, shower (ambitious), get dressed and jump on the metro.  I have decided to go back to Foshan, my old town (an hour away via subway), and get my hair did there.  Why?  Mostly because I knew it would be super cheap since I am friends with the hair boys (hairdressers) who have a shop below my ex-building.  Unfortunately, when I arrive at about 10:40, the shop is closed and Kevin (my hairdresser) isn’t responding to any of my messages.

After eating, drinking some vitamin water, and sitting for about an hour outside the salon as the lady at the shop next door continuously tells me that they are on holiday, I decide to get Kevin’s phone number from his girlfriend (whose number I had forgotten that I had).  When I call, he answers, and I tell him that I’m going to kill him.  He responds that he is on his way ….he did know that I was coming..

What happens next is this:

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I drink a Pocari Sweat (sweat sweat sweat) to try to rejuvenate myself as I wait for Kevin to arrive (a different employee arrived first and opened the door).

Kevin arrives, looks at my drink and says, “No, no, no, no!”

This ensues:

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So I’m sitting there drinking a beer with Kevin at noon, and I’m telling him about how I want to dye my hair white.  He tells me that it won’t look good, but I tell him I don’t care.  Then he points out that the hair decoloring formula (Loreal brand) is all out.  I’m depressed because all of the wild options are out the window as well.  Luckily, I live in China, and anything can be obtained with a phone call…Within ten minutes, some new bleach was delivered and we were on our way!

Before photo (warning, the photos in this blog post are not flattering…regardless of hair color):

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This is Kevin over my should.  As you can see by my facial expression, I had complete confidence in him.

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The first bleaching begins and I’m super excited about the fashionable ear covers I get to wear.

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And then orange happened.  Orange is the new black though…right?

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After bleaching 2….still orange:

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No one told me how long it takes.  I started to get restless.  PS check out my fashion Saran Wrap hat:

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After bleaching 3, I’m still a bit concerned:

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I at this moment realized how black my eyebrows were going to look…

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I decided to watch Miley’s music video.  This was taking a realllllly long time…and she is awesome.

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Okay, finished!

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I almost had a heart attack when he said “This is it!”  I brought back out the white hair sample and showed him the difference.  He just continued to say how scared he was and that we could try one more time.  And thank god we did because even though it didn’t come out white (seriously, who wants white hair?) it came out much better (they mixed white hair dye in this time with the bleach mixture):

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So here I was.  At this point it was about 5:30 PM which meant it took about 5 hours of actual hair-doing in addition to the travel time…exhausting day!  How much do you think it cost?  About 16 USD.  Kevin was terrified that I didn’t like it..he even messaged me the next day saying how worried he was.  And well, here is how I feel about it still:

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It’s mostly that I’m just not used to it.  And can you imagine what its going to look like when my roots come in?  Amazingly awful!  Can’t wait!

In the meantime, let me give you some of my favorite responses to my new hair:

“Omg why?” – This is just the typical one.

“Boy band?”

“Is that real?” – seriously?

“it is true that blondes have more fun…your eyebrows look so bored”

“omg it is so bad.  i hope when i come back it will be changed. i am sorry but why did you do this? do you think it is nice?”

And my personal favorite:

“What is happened?…….” followed by an exasperated, “You are stupid!” – Thank you, Sunshine (my colleague…a boy).

Generally speaking, it has been love it or hate it from most people, and one thing I have discovered is that people do not spare your feelings.  As I write this, my mother just called.  Here’s how our conversation went:

“I saw a photo of you…”

I laugh.

“I thought you were joking!!!”

I continue to laugh.

“I hate it!”

Still laughing.

“Why did you do that?  Oh my god, I really hate it.  I think you are regressing to an earlier age!  That’s something people do when they are much younger!”

I did clarify that I probably would nevvvvver do this in the US.  Also, I just kind of saw this as an opportunity to spice up my life during this renovation period that my restaurant is in.  I would never do this while I was working a full time job as a manager of a place.

All of this being said, I do think people should be a little bit more tactful.  If you don’t like it, that’s fine.  I’m finally adjusting to it, but is there really a need for someone to come up to me three times within fifteen minutes to tell me how much they dislike it?  I think not.  I mean, I’m fine with being the butt of jokes and things like that, but when people feel the need to tell me how upset they are about it more than once or twice, we must not have very many things to talk about…that or they just don’t understand what is acceptable social behavior (or both).  

Hair grows.  And as I have just proven, can easily change.  I’ll hang onto it for a little while longer, but it will be back to normal in no time.  I don’t normally feel the need to defend it because I know its absurd, but hey, you only live once…and for me, right now, Blonde is the New Black.


After four years of living alone (in China), I, for the first time, have a roommate.  He’s the bar consultant for Wilber’s, and he’s from Hong Kong.  Although our work schedules are basically the same, our day schedules vary significantly since he sleeps until about 3 PM.  And although one would imagine having a roommate for the first time in years to be the biggest change in someone’s living situation, it isn’t even close.  Here are a few events that have happened/continued to happen over the past 3 months:

- I wake up to knocking on the door.  I get up and answer.  It’s a man.  Lao Wang.  He is the caretaker of the apartments apparently.  I’m not really sure though, I can’t understand what is happening.  He rushes through the place, touching everything and some other man comes in.  They set up the Wifi and leave.

- Twenty minutes later, there is a quieter knock at the door.  Unsure as to whether its real or not, I continue to lay in bed.  I hear someone put a key in the door.  It opens.  Now, I’m sitting in my bed waiting to be swiftly hacked to pieces by this stranger who possesses a key to my apartment.  Then the murderer knocks on my bedroom door.  Having seen law and order before, I’m pretty sure that a murderer would not knock on my door.  When I open it, I see a woman.  She says something I can’t understand, goes into my room, opens the balcony door, takes a bucket, fills it with water, and waters the tree plant things on my balcony.  She next tells me she will be doing this every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and leaves.  I allow this to go on for a week before telling her that it’s not necessary and I will water them myself.

- I get a phone call from Lao Wang.  He asks me where I am.  I give the phone to my colleague since he speaks at a rate of 1,000 words per minute rendering him completely impossible to comprehend on the phone.  Apparently, I have left my window opened, and there is rain in the forecast.  I instruct my colleague to inform him that I am not going home to close my window.  Upon arriving home 6 hours later (in which time it did not rain…), I discover my window is closed.

- I get up and head out for the day.  Later on, when I see Bo, my roommate, he tells me that Lao Wang has been to our place in the morning.  Respectfully, he knocked, and then brought in two girls.  They walked around our apartment, taking pictures of each of the rooms (including our bedrooms), and then left.  An hour later, two boys come in with Lao Wang, and get the same privileged tour.  I imagine we are being kicked out but have no idea.

- Plant Watering lady (who clearly has too much time on her hands now that I have relinquished her of the duty of watering my two trees) cannot understand why Bo put a pillow on the roof.  She asks me about this every day for a week.  I always tell her that I also don’t know.  Finally, she takes it in for Bo.  

- It’s 6 in the morning.  Bo hasn’t moved in yet, and I heard a frantic pounding on the front door.  It’s Lao Wang.  He comes running into my apartment and busts into Bo’s room.  Some pipe had busted and water was flooding out everywhere.  He frantically kills the water and turns to me.  I look at him completely confounded.  He asks me for a mop but I tell him that I don’t have one.  He runs back downstairs and comes back up.  “Go back to sleep,” he tells me.  Being 6:30 AM, I take up his offer.  He spends the next half hour mopping up the water.  When I wake up hours later, he is back with a new guy.  They are wearing my flip flops that were by the door and fixing the pipe in the bathroom.  

These are just a few of the highlights.  While the rate of the oddities is slowing down, they do continue, and I’ll be sure to keep updating them.  Now, I’m going to head out for the day.  Bye bye for now.

Only Miami is America


“Where are you from?” 

“The US,” I answer.  Upon seeing a blank look, I dumb it down…”America.”

“Oh.  Really?  Where in America?  I’m from Miami.”

Oh.  He’s one of them!  I guess.  What I mean when I guess this is, he is one of the Chinese people who has lived in the US or has even gained citizenship, but then comes back to China and tells every foreigner who he/she meets that they are from xx city in the States.  Most recently, I had someone tell me they were from New York, and when I asked where in New York, he lost all ability to speak English.  He apparently had citizenship, but my guess is he rarely ventured outside of Chinatown.

“Are you from New York?” he goes on.

“Close.  Pennsylvania.”

“I knew it,” he says.  Then he quickly corrects himself, “Are you really from America?  I don’t believe you.”

“I can show you my ID if you really want,” I laugh.

“Show it to me,” he says, dead seriously.

He takes the ID, looks at it carefully, and says, “Hmmm…”

In order to take the attention from his judgment of my Americanness, I attempt to tell him I have never been to Miami but am dying to go.  Before I can say that I would really like to go, he cuts me off, “You have never been to Miami?  You are not American.  You are not American.  You are Chinese.”

Being told I’m Chinese by a Chinese person was new!  Usually people guess that I’m Latino, Italian, Spanish, Middle Eastern or something fun like that.  But Chinese…that was a new one.  Obviously, he wasn’t serious, but the look on his face would beg the differ.

Upon digging deeper, I discovered that he was from Beijing, and I agreed to get in touch with him if I ever visited again.  I made sure to not ask for his contact details, and he being drunk, seemed to forget that exchanging phone numbers is crucial to future contact.

Moral of the story:  I am apparently less American than some of my customers who have spent a summer in Miami.  And, one day, I may become American….but not until I  visit Miami.

No more Mr. Frank


As many expected/predicted, I am still in China.  

But… year 5 is going to be different.  

For the first time since coming to China, I will no longer be an English teacher– No more Mr. Frank

So what is next on my plate?  Managing a restaurant/bar in the great city of Guangzhou.  It’s called Wilber’s, and it’s significantly classier than me.  

The restaurant will be undergoing renovations in September and re-opening in October.  So I’ll make sure to keep all of you, my loyal fans (my mom), updated.

I’ll post more about that later, but for now, I just wanted to get my toes wet and re-enter the world of blogging.  As has been pointed out, numerous times, by my lovely friends, Halina and Zak, my English has gone to (pardon my poor English) shit.  In an attempt to better document my typical adventures and maintain some of my native language, I will try to blog at least 3 times each week.

Now, I will grace you with some highlights from my 35 hour journey back to China:

- Met a local Scrantonian at the bar in Newark.  She didn’t want to drink Hoegaarden like me, but I’ll attribute that to her mafia background (she told me her family is the mafia from Scranton….).  She was shocked that I didn’t have a Scranton accent, then she sat down at a table and proceeded to study lines for some sort of play I imagined she was auditioning for in Canada.

- I was flying Air India.  What did this mean?  I would be the only white person on the plane, and spend the next 14 hours planning my future trip to India (Spring Festival 2014?).

- Silky (not Silvy) sat next to me on the plane.  S-I-L-K-Y.  K.  Not V.  Originally from Mumbai but now living in Jersey.  She’s a scientist.  When they announced they were looking for a doctor, I looked at her, and she informed me that scientists and doctors are not the same thing.  “Are you sure?” I asked.  “Yes,” she replied.  

Ravi, her 4 year old son, who shares the same name as any other Indian male I have conversed with as well as fake Indian in the in-flight movie I was watching (A Cinderella Story starring a girl I wanted to believe was Selena Gomez despite the information clearly saying it was the Hilary Duff version…), made sure we followed all the airline rules. 

Had to switch planes in Mumbai and fly to Delhi.  The 4-hour layover was significantly more painful than the 14 hour flight prior to it.

In the Delhi airport, I had my bag searched three times.  I apathetically stood there each time without saying a word.

After a 5-hour flight, I arrived in HK and was shortly thereafter on a bus to Guangzhou.

At the border, they let me in!

And after 35 hours of travel, I arrived in Guangzhou and headed straight to McDonald’s.  What happened next?  Some girl took a photo of me.  Having been away for nearly 3 weeks, I had almost forgotten about the paparazzi in China!  I turned to look at the girl who was blatantly flash a pic of me, and I noticed something quite strange.  She wasn’t Asian.  She was a Latina chica.  This is new, I thought, and left with my food.  

All in all, I imagine this year will be filled with many new experiences as well as typical ones.  I will no longer have the amusing student stories but I’ll do my best to replace them with service industry mishaps.  Feel free to comment.  Mwah.

Back to Blogging


It’s been forever. I know.  I’m lazy.  Oh well.  Anyway, I’m going to try to get back into blogging.  I may start using tumblr instead…thoughts?  I don’t really know anything about it but it seems less daunting to post something on there than on here.  I always feel like I need to have a legitimate story/post on here to write something and then end up not posting because it take too much effort.

That being said, tumblr won’t open on my computer right now so I’ll post here.

Brief life update.

I’m no longer in Hunan.  I’m in Guangdong.  Hunan will forever be my favorite place, but Guangdong is so much more livable.  It has rained for 20 days straight in Changsha.  So yeah, I’m glad to be down here even if it is raining here quite often also…at least it’s not freezing out.

I just traveled for nearly 2 months.  Spent most of my time in Bali…. it was nice.. ha.

Now, I’m back to work and it’s difficult to get back into the swing of things.  Probably better for my liver to have work and not be partying everyday anyway.

I’m at starbucks doing some work now.  Or, well, I was doing work.  Now, I’m going to head to the gym.  Just wanted to post something to break the ice.  K.  Post later.  Maybe after the gym..if something funny/awkward happens …seeing as it usually does at that place.

Much love.

Francis

-Oh, considering going back to my roots and going by my original name: Francis.  I don’t like it, but I guess I was feeling a bit bored?  Whatever.

Chapter 2 – Lijiang and a really “sick” room


3 – Lijiang

-  We arrived in LiJiang sometime in the mid-afternoon.  Since it had been Craig’s favorite city, we were excited to have a look look.  All I really knew about Lijiang beforehand was that it was some beautiful “Old City”…one of those world heritage sites or something (the only buildings were preserved and it was supposed to be beauuutiful).  So, you can imagine our surprise when we were welcomed to the “old city” by a brand new Pizza Hut and KFC.

-  Next, we wandered the streets noticing that everything seemed to be closed.  And the things that weren’t closed…well, they all looked the same.  The shops sold the same scarves, wood carvings, and horrible CD (a one track CD…I don’t know how I forget what the words were since they haunted me in my dreams for weeks).  But seriously, whereas most cities have street signs and landmarks that you can use to navigate the roads, this city was a giant maze of old buildings with touristy souvenirs (oh and thousands and thousands of Chinese tourists….who, like the average Chinese citizen, seem to have a difficult time walking at a sufficient pace and well, in a straight line.  Zigzag patterns of walking are highly encouraged.

-  Seriously though, the city was really pretty..and clean.  But it was night one that tragedy struck.  Vinny made his typical trip to the hospital to buy some cold medicine (I bought some, also).  But, having the stronger immune system, I was able to head out with Craig while Vinny sat in our hotel room and moped.

-  Craig and I were to look for “The Stone Crow,” a bar that he really liked the first time he was in Lijiang.  As we walked the city for what seemed like days, it became pretty obvious that we were never going to find it.  Therefore, we stopped in some bar and looked at the menu.  The drinks were way too expensive, and so we asked the waitress if she knew where “The Stone Crow” was.  She responded saying something about it being closed, but we couldn’t fully understand what she was explaining.  Anyway, we left that bar and continued to look, figuring she was lying to us.

-  While searching for the bar, we inevitably got lost and had to stop in some hostel to ask for directions back.  It was there that a giant bear-dog named Yak jumped up on me and tried to eat my face.  Luckily, I had Onomatopoeia to protect me.  Anyhow,  we eventually made it back…as failures.

-  Upon re-entering the room, we found an apologetic Vinny vomiting into a trashcan at his bedside.  On top of his cold, he seemed to have caught a stomach virus.  Unfortunate.

-  During the night, I woke up to Craig coughing.  Coughing then turned into a mad dash to the bathroom where he would become the second victim of the mad stomach virus.  For the next 5 or so hours, I hid under my covers trying to hide from the germy atmosphere on the other side that could cause me to join the vomit crew.

- In the morning, I got up and rushed out of the room before I could catch their illness.  Some Chinese man then tried to get me to ride his horse for the day or something.  Then he thought I was going with some other woman and told me that it was “Terrible!  Terrible!  She used to be my wife” before storming away.  I then decided to go to the Emerald Pool or something (some lake with one of the most iconic picture spots in all of southern China…or so some guide book said).

- At the “pool”:  I was under the impression that I had to pay about 80 Yuan or something.  But then I saw people walk through, and thought to myself, “perhaps, paying is optional.”  I was on the phone so I meandered through the gate and waited for someone to apprehend me.  No one came, and that is how I accidentally snuck in.  So, I walked around for a while and then hiked up this mountain.  It was here that some man in a red jacket began stalking me….or he just so happened to be walking the same pace as me and taking the exact same breaks as me for the entire duration of the upward hike.  Once again, I was glad to heave my “weapon”…aka trophy.  However, on the way back down he was able to out-stride him and reach the bottom without having to unleash the fury of Onomatopoeia.

- For the rest of the day, I ignored some little girl who was hitting the bench I was napping on as she yapped, “MISTER, MISTER, MISTER!”  Sorry little girl, I was busy pretending my music was too loud to hear you.

-  The next day, I decided to go to the Tiger Leaping Gorge on a day trip.  Craig and Vinny were still recuperating so they stayed in.  Here I met some other foreigners (a British guy and girl and a Chinese guy from Hunan who lived in England for the better part of his life).  We were able to survive such obstacles as the bathroom debacle (you don’t want to know), the bawling Chinese chick who couldn’t handle the unbearable height despite the fact that falling down into the gorge would have taken a lot of effort, and the slowest hikers known to man.  We did get some good pictures though, and the day ended as a success

- Night time:  Went to eat with Craig and Vinny, then they went home and I went to Ns Kitchen, my favorite sandwich place in Lijiang.  The boss suggested that maybe I could go to this bar he had a card for.  And wouldn’t ya know: “Stone the Crows.”  I could only assume this was “The Stone Crow” that Craig had been talking about so I called him.  The boss told me that it had closed, but it was now in a new location.

-  Well, what did we discover?  It was closed, and the bar that Craig and I stopped in the first night was actually the exact location of where “Stone the Crows” had previously been.  Crazy.

-  After a few drinks at a restaurant, Craig went home and I went to Check out the clubs.  At the first place, I felt a little awkward since I was sat down at a table by myself (well, I guess I had Onomatopoeia with me).  However, people immediately invited me to different tables and a dance party started.  The highlight was clearly when the oldest man living burst onto the scene and started break dancing.  We soon formed the best dance team ever, but it was short-lived as I soon got sick of the European club music and left.

- I then decided to search out some American music, and I found it next door.  Immediately, some people invited me to their table (again) and some girls started challenging me to chug offs.  Then, when “Baby” came on, I hopped up onto the giant stage and requested a microphone.  As the only foreigner in a dead club, they saw nothing to lose and forfeited a mic up to me.  Within minutes, people from the club I had previously been in (which just so happened to be connected to the new club), started migrating over and a huge dance-party commenced on stage.  Once again though, this was short-lived as Lijiang has a curfew and the music had to be turned off.

-  I gave one last go at finding a fun spot, and went across the river-road.  I walked into a club and the lights were on and the music was off.  Nevertheless, it was still pretty packed.  I was only there for a moment when some girl started waving to me.  I walked up to their table, and she proclaimed that the girls at their table wanted to take my clothes off.  I told her that the lights and lack of music kind of killed the vibe and that wouldn’t be possible.  So, we went back to their hostel and sang karaoke in their common room.  There were tons of Chinese people about my age and they were all raging.  It was a strange sight, and I definitely was aware of the fact that I would not be able to make it back to my hotel.  Somehow though, after a few hours of hanging out, I made it back to my hotel  (after taking a taxi and instructing him to drive to KFC….the one landmark that I knew…and even that failed me as there was another KFC, also.  Eventually, I made it though.)

-  Anyway, the next day, I was exhausted and just hung around, went for a massage, and relaxed while Craig and Vinny did the daytrip to the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

- Finally, the day after that, we were off to the airport to fly down south to JingHong (southern Yunnan)

Spring Festival Part 1 – The Rise of JB


So, I’m going to make a petty attempt at updating about my travels.  Since it would take forever to write about 3+ weeks, I’m just going to give updates on the cities we traveled to.

1 – Kunming

- We had escaped a big snow storm to arrive in Kunming.  It was warm…and sunny.

- We bought shots of tequila for 3 Chinese guys who were playing pool at our hostel.  The one guy reciprocated by buying us an entire bottle of gin and stood next to us until we finished it.  It took about 10 minutes.  Then he told the bartender to keep filling up our shot glasses.  Never-ending gin shots.  Yum.  Vom.

- The first night, some American told us a completely fabricated story about two Russian men who tried to fight an entire bar and ended up getting bludgeoned by a meat cleaver.  We went to to the clubs anyway and made friends with everyone, including the managers and performers.

- We walked down a street with hundreds of trophy shops.  We bought one.  A giant cup.  We named him Onomatopoeia based on Craig’s mistake of calling something that was an oxymoron and onomatopoeia (I think..).  We would continue to drink out of this trophy with champagne, beer, and hard liquor  for the entirety of the trip…except not at the club, because he was considered a “weapon” and therefore we had to check him with the bags.  Oh yeah, Onomatopoeia is a boy.

- Craig, Sam (some guy we met), and I all had our jackets “stolen” at the club.  A manager helped me look for them.  Craig gave up on looking and went home.  I found Craigs.  And I even found his stupid gloves.  At least I had a jacket to wear home.

2 – Dali

- Note: this was our favorite city

- First night we had Yak steaks, mashed potatoes (aka french fries), and Lao lager.

- After Craig went home (thank god!), Vinny and I walked around for a little bit until we found a different bar.  We found a real karaoke bar…not just a KTV (private rooms).  This was a big bar with a huge stage where people could perform.  At this point in the trip we had JB (the nickname of Onomatopoeia..it stands for jiang bei..big cup…trophy) on a strap that Vinny had so conveniently packed, and so we were able to travel with him easily.  The moment we walked in, Mr. Water, the guy sent to greet us started going crazy.  Actually, all Chinese people that saw JB would respond with a resounding “Wahhhhh Wahhhhh Wahhhhh” in excitement.  Mr. Water then introduced us to the bar owner.  Apparently, he owned all the bars on the street.  After having a few beers (some that Mr. Water stole for us from his bosses table) and refusing to sing karaoke, we went home…but not until we had promised to return the next night to sing.

- We bumped into the boss the next day as we had coincidentally decided to eat at one of his restaurants (after we had tried to hike up the mountain but found out that our destination: gondola was actually a gondola under construction….)  He then invited us to sit with him, drink coffee….oh and make a Happy Hour menu for him.  As payment, he would treat us to dinner…us and the two random American girls he saw walk by and sent us to fetch.

- Dinner was one of the most extravagant I have ever seen in China.  We were even serenaded by some woman with a horrifyingly high voice dressed in voodoo doll clothing.  Afterward, we went straight to his other bar where we were treated like royalty.  Lots of dancing and singing (on the stage…with the microphone) ensued.  Finally, I forced everyone to go to the karaoke bar where I decided to sing every song, even Chinese songs that I didn’t know the words to.  Successful night.  I think so.

- Next day, we biked with Chelsea (friend who is currently teaching at my old school) and Seb (her boyfriend from home).  The highlight was when we helped some local villagers roll a gigantic cement pillar.  Afterward, we bumped into the lao ban (lao ban means boss).  This would result in another night of “working for the lao ban with our performances” for free drinks.

- We discovered that Lao Ban’s name is actually Lao Hu (tiger).  He then brought us to the Bad Monkey, a popular Westerner hangout bar.  I’m pretty sure he kicked people out of a table because he wanted to have one of the front tables.  I mean, we did have a trophy, and we should be able to put it on display.

- Our last day, we basically just walked around and hung out.  UNTIL, we saw Mr. Water and Slicked-Back-Hair at the Bad Monkey.  Then we sat down and drank with them for a while which was great because we were able to witness Mr. Water jumping over a bench and run outside to what appeared to be a fight between him and an old XinJiang drug dealer.  It was nothing.  Mr. Water got his hash to smoke out of the hookah and all was good.

*note: in Dali, somewhere between 10 and 20 different people drank out of JB.  and this is probably a big reason for what happened next in LiJiang

travel


I’m about to leave and begin traveling. Craig, Vinny, and I booked a flight to Kunming, Yunnan, but other than that we have nothing set up. The general plan is Yunnan for a bit then to Laos. I’ll do my best to update as we go along. For now, peace out.

Cili is Silly


I went back to Cili on Monday to hang out for a couple days.  It typically turned from a couple days to about five, but a few great things happened that make the trip well worth it.

So, although I had already bought my bus ticket, I had to go to the atm and reached the bus about 5-10 minutes before departure.  The workers panicked because there weren’t any more seats.  What this meant was that I had to sit in the seat right next to the driver…the one on the steps.  This seat was broken and things got awkward when I dropped my phone down the steps towards the end of the trip (the headphones came out and my song started playing out loud..it was on shuffle and just at that moment, a recording of Bianca singing Gavin Degraw came on…so yes, he could hear that).  The one upside of this seat was that it was a front row ticket to beautiful China….

View from the front

The first day, I arrived at about 7 and hung around the campus for a little while before dinner.  Some past students attacked me and commented on how fashion my new shoes are…they are pretty fashion if I might say so myself.  If being stared at in public doesn’t happen enough in small town China, throw on some silver moon shoes, and well..yeah.  A couple other girls were able to decipher the words on my obnoxious trucker hat (most people usually can’t).  “Women wish his love” – this discovery caused an outrage amongst the crew of twenty or so girls that were swarmed around me.

After dinner with some friends, most people went home, but Tank, a geography teacher, accompanied me to my street restaurant.  Unfortunately, my best friend, Huang Xing Guo, was at the bar, so we jumped back in our taxi and demanded that he take us down the street to the bar.

The bar is now called V8…like the juice.  It used to be Street Story Pub, an American-styled bar that played the world’s loudest music.  However, this new bar is more of a Chinese-style club…just miniaturized.  And well, walking in was extremely overwhelming.  There was a short man singing on the stage which was right near the entrance.  He was singing some Chinese song, of course, but he stopped when I walked in to chug an entire beer in about 2 seconds.  The first table was occupied by Fany, previously known as Sunshine, a friend of mine, and his friends.  The second table was where Huang Xing Guo and his friends were at, although HXG had apparently gone home because he was too drunk.

There was a lot of shouting, hugging, gaping at my shoes…normal things.  Then a beer was put in my hand and I was thrown onto the stage.  I was made to chug it in front of the club and then told to dance.  I refused at first and went behind the DJ booth to look at the English songs.  The DJ was very set on me dancing to “My Humps,” and well, nothing could ever top Craig’s dancing to that…so I refused.

I was then forced to leave and go all over the town:  street restaurant, a different bar (had a lady boy from Thailand but the bar was closed), and back to V8.  This time, I sang “Larger than Life” by Backstreet Boys and listened to “My Humps”- the gap-toothed DJ with blond highlights really, really wanted to play it.

People tried to pay for my hotel, but I just stayed in Fany’s guest bedroom.

The next day, I was almost kidnapped and taken into the countryside to eat dog.  I refused.  Then at the restaurant we did go to, someone insisted upon dog.  Once again, this was a no-go.

Since it’s 5 days long…I’m just going to have to give highlights:

A man kept screaming “Please, touch my card,” in an attempt at saying “Please, touch my cock,” to people at a different table.  Note: I did not teach him this.  My friend, Leo, heard it in a movie.

Someone put some food in my bowl, and in China, if someone does that, you basically have to eat it..  I asked what it was.  No one knew.  After eating, they asked the waiter and then they all laughed.  “Dog Penis,” they told me.  I wasn’t sure if this was true…it tasted like sea food.  And they then said they were joking, but I noticed that no one would eat it afterward (even when I put it in their bowls…double standard, anyone?) and they never explained what it really was.

I missed the last night of the ladyboy performing.  That was sad.

seriously, a ladyboy in cili

One day, Mr. Tian’s son would not look away from the computer screen, regardless of what we said or did to him.  I started putting random things on his head and taking pictures because 1 – I was  bored and 2 – I am immature.

mr. tian's son

first was the hood

then the red thing

the game he was playing

I went to KTV with random people I had just met at a street restaurant, all of whom did not speak English.  The guy paying vomited in the bathroom before we began singing.  I then sang “I Want Love” by Elton John–a sleeper pick, I think (it went over really well).

So, for the first time, I got one of those massages that I had always imagined….the kind where an Asian woman basically runs all over your back.  There were even poles on the ceiling to assist her acrobatic moves.  At some other times, she even put me in some wrestling holds.  It was painful and oddly satisfying.  Check out the bed (I was too big for it and it was basically just a sheet on a wooden block…not too comfortable).

note the poles on the ceiling

Huang Xing Guo called me one afternoon and said that I couldn’t go back to Changsha, and he was coming to get me.  This turned out to be a good decision since he picked me up and led me to his friend’s training school.  There we found his friends…a group of men in their mid-forties skipping around drunkenly and taking turns doing calligraphy on the ground.  They all kept repeating themselves, and behaving erratically (ex: bringing out a giant scroll of drawings and throwing it on the ground while screaming).  One man even had his arm give out that was supporting his weight while he drew.  This resulted in his forehead bashing off the ground.  Everyone then laughed at him.  They also made me write my signature…then stamped it with my fingerprint.

mr. tian doing calligraphy

Below is a video of some of the guys:

Wang Ming Fu, a tea shop owner and one of my best friends from last year, returned…this meant that I had to drink the vile baijiu.  And this also made HXG even drunker…check out this video of him trying to steal eggs.  At first, Linda pointed out to me that he was stealing eggs off the table and putting them in his pockets.  Then I started taking a video, and he thought that I was taking a picture…so he posed, holding the eggs.  Everyone then started yelling at me to only take one picture…but, it was a video.  He remains in one position for about 1 minute and 45 seconds.  You don’t have to watch the whole thing to get the idea…but you can, if you want.

Wang Ming Fu cut his finger on a bottle that he opened (with a bottle opener).  No one cared or seemed shocked.  They just told him to go across the street to the hospital and get it patched up..so he did.

I escaped in the morning and went straight back to Changsha…although Cili was fun, it’s an exhausting place to be for more than 10 hours….never mind 4 full days.

shengdi, brothers

proving that my phone actually takes pictures (even if shitty pics)

wc is an actual alcoholic

color wolf, huang xing guo, WC, and wang ming fu

Some random old lady chopping up some vegetables on the street:

grandma at work, chopping things

grandma taking a break

Year of the Tiger Ink


So I realize this was ages ago, but I just realized I hadn’t posted about it.  Well, at least I think I haven’t posted about it.  If I did, then forgive me for doing it for a second time.

Anyway, I have always wanted a tattoo.  It is just something that I wanted since before I was 18.  However, I had no clue what I wanted to get, and therefore, I never got one.  And honestly, I was always wondering how painful it would be (as I was a bit afraid that I wouldn’t be able to endure it since I’m not the toughest lad in the bunch).  So, I wanted to make sure I got one that I liked…and didn’t regret immediately (i.e. the word groovy on my ass, or something..).

After much searching, I failed to find anything I liked.

Finally, one day I found a picture of a tiger that I thought was kind of cool.  Since I was born during the Year of the Tiger according to the Chinese calendar and my first full year in China was during the Year of the Tiger, I thought getting a tiger tattoo would be something that made at least a little sense.  Still, I did not immediately run to a tattoo parlor and get inked up.  For one, my mother had basically always said she would disown me if i got a tattoo because she hates them, but also, because I wasn’t sure if it was exactly what I wanted.

But then, over the summer, I discovered I was the only male in my family that had yet to get a tattoo (therefore, my mother couldn’t use the disowning as a threat anymore), and I realized that I still liked it.  A friend of mine once told me about someone else who waited a full year after deciding on a tattoo before finalizing it, just to make sure that they still liked it.  Well, this had been many months and I still liked it…soo, I decided I would get it once I returned to China (tattoos are cheaper in China and wouldn’t it make more sense to get my tattoo related to China, in China?)  Oh, and ALSO my mom actually didn’t hate it when I showed her it.

Still, I know it would take more action to actually get one.  This push came one night when my friend, Craig, called me.  He has many tattoos, but he wanted to get more.

“Hey man, what ya doin?” he asked when I picked up my phone.

“Nothin.  Just goin to get some food.”

“Hey, do you still wanna get a tattoo?” he said.

“Um.  Yeah.  Now?”

“Not now, but I am going to go tomorrow.”

So there we were.  “Tomorrow” we both went to a tattoo parlor he had found.  He got a crazy large tattoo on his crazy large back (not fat..he’s 6’9″).  And well, it was taking forever.  So I called this Chinese guy we knew and asked where he got his.  My friend, Michaela, accompanied me to go check it out.

craig getting stencilled up

craig in the massage chair clearly not made for 6'9" people

And so it begins!

After finally finding the place in some apartment building, we knocked on the doo

r.  It was what appeared to be a laundromat inside someone’s apartment.  But then we were led upstairs to the “tattoo parlor.”

I showed the guy what I wanted and said, “something like this.”  He told me that he would sketch a couple drawings similar to it with a Chinese twist, and that I could come back the next day to undergo the pain.  It would cost 500RMB (about 70 dollars).

The next day, I returned with Craig, Michaela, and 2 friends from Xiangtan.  The tattooist showed me two sketches he had made.  One looked like a dragon and the other looked like a lizard.  I had asked for a tiger.  Therefore, I just told him to go with the original.

So, here’s a series of pics from the surgery I underwent:

My skilled and fashionable tattoo artist

He must be showing me something on my back (there is another mirror behind me that you can't see)

Preparing for what I expected to be the most painful thing ever

And so it began...

Casually enduring the pain

Finished product...quit looking at my jacked back and notice my new tattoo

A closer shot of it

Happiest man alive...

my 2nd tattoo

So the last picture “my 2nd tattoo” is totally real.  Right?  Not one of those tattoos that you wet and stick on you.  But, I did wear it to the car game show we appeared on, and they made sure to point it out and ask about it.  I think they thought it was real, but they were probably just making fun of me.

Anyway, that’s about it.  The pain wasn’t nearly as bad as what I had expected, although I did get a bit lightheaded towards the end as it took 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I spoke like 5 words the whole time…I basically just sat there listening to my friends idly chat as I was afraid of moving and scarring myself with a horrible ink mistake.  I was pretty sure I would make him mess up as I was laughing hysterically at Nicole’s terrible story she made up as she perused through a tattoo book.

And well, the best thing about now is I have what Stenn likes to call the “tiger shirt.”  The tiger shirt likes to be put to use at the club in Cili.  And while wearing the tiger shirt, I can do anything.

So, for now, that’s it.  Peace.