So I set off on a mini adventure the other night everyone! I went off to find a bar across town all by myself! Not that I was going to the bar by myself, but I was traveling there by myself.
I was all set to go! I was going to take buses there and a taxi back. I had my route mapped out perfectly, down to how many streets to pass before the right one and which landmarks to look for. I Google-mapped the hell out of it. Then I checked it again. Then I had my friend write down all the directions in Chinese. Can you tell I didn’t want to get lost?
So then I got ready and listened to my get pumped up mix, which normally consists of inappropriate rap and 90’s music. I then went online to double-check the time with the people I was supposed to meet. Another part of my mini adventure was I didn’t know the people I was meeting. It was a group of foreigners who live in Hangzhou who meet up to go out every so often. I wanted to meet new people so I decided to join them!
Now I was all set to go on my adventure! I was excited, but if I’m being honest here, also nervous. I mean, I was about to go wandering by myself at night in a city that I have no knowledge of, and one where I am (again let’s be honest) completely ignorant of the language. I have only been here for three weeks, so I only know hello and thank you so far. But I’m learning! Give me time! The point I’m trying to make is that I had no idea of where I was going. But that is the adventure!! (Don’t worry Pop, I’m fine and nothing bad happened).
So I set off to find my first bus stop, and I’m excited and happy and all ready to go! New experiences!!
Complete and utter failure.
Well damn. So I expected to have some troubles getting there, but I at least thought I would make it half way there. Nope. I didn’t even make it to the first bus stop. It must have been an old bus route that has been changed or something because my directions were solid, If I do say so myself. After about 45 minutes of walking up and down the street, I gave up and hailed a cab. This was also my first time hailing a cab here. Good for me right?! Just agree with me.
Anyway, so I finally reached my destination, and after looking like a complete idiot for about an hour, I met up with everyone! Let me explain, I looked like an idiot for an hour because I reached the bar first and I didn’t know who to look for. So I just started walking around to tables that looked promising, and asking if they were from this random website. In hind site, this is a really creepy thing for me to do. Now I know. There was, however, a pretty good view while I waited. A group of guys walked in while I waited at the bar with my pint of Tiger, looking like that weird, lonely girl. Not just any group of guys, oh no. Tall, broad, blond, and every single one of them was cuter than the last. I seriously looked around the bar like someone was pulling a prank on me. Also, I may have drooled a little and I don’t even think I’m ashamed of that. So what was after about 45 minutes of (probably blatant) ogling, my fellow expats joined up with me and the night began!
Now, I am not a picky person when it comes to drinks. I will gladly drink pints of Tiger for 15 yuan (for those of you back home that is about $2.45) all night, but when someone tells me it is ladies night and cocktails are free for two hours you better believe I am going to cat fight to be first in line. Don’t judge me, I just really like whiskey and cokes. Oh remember that group of viking esc men I briefly, and not creepily, mentioned? Well, they sang me happy birthday in Swedish (at least I think it was Swedish). I’m not entirely certain of what language it was, but it was manly and way more fun than our annoying happy birthday song.
Oh it was your birthday, you say!? Well, not exactly. But when there are 10 hunky men giving out birthday songs, you don’t really pass that up. Although, I think I reverted to giggly school girl status when they said my name in the song, and that I’m not entirely proud of.
Around 11:30 we left the bar and went to a club down the street. It is probably at this point that I should tell you that I planned on being home by 11:30 at the latest. Whoops. Guess I wasn’t making that 10 pm ‘curfew’ either. It has actually been awhile since I have been to a proper ‘disco’ and I forgot how repetitive house music can be. That being said, when you are dancing to it you don’t really seem to notice. What causes this weird phenomenon? A mix of alcohol and hormones? Mind control? Future research is needed, but my money is on mind control.
After an uncertain amount of time (the first thing to go in discos is your perception of time), and after deploying the proper avoidance maneuvers for those individuals whom I did not wish to dance with (I may have not been to a club in a while, but I remember how to execute an expert dodge), I decided I should probably pack it in for the night. So about that ‘curfew’… not that it is an actual curfew, but the guards at the front gate go to sleep around midnight, so anytime after that you have to wake them up to let you in. By the time I climbed out of the taxi at the front gate of the school it was well past their bedtimes. After knocking awkwardly a few times on the window, no one came to let little old me in. So my options were continue to stand and knock until someone woke up… or hop the fence.
I have no further comment on the manner of my entrance onto campus.
So it may not have been the most exciting night that I have ever had out, but I learned a few things and had a lot of fun. I learned that I should probably do a dry run of the bus systems before I plan on actually taking them somewhere. You never know when Google Maps will tell you to go to a certain bus station and it will just be GONE! No, i’m not bitter about that at all. I learned that the Vineyard bar has an awesome ladies night. I learned how many whiskey and cokes I can drink in two hours (17) (Just kidding Pop). I met a lot of awesome people on my night out as well. Other English teachers, other people my age, other people from Ohio, other people just like me! It gives me some reassurance that around the holidays, when I inevitably get a little lonely and probably homesick, that I will have other people here feeling the same thing. Not that I want other people to be lonely and slightly miserable, but just that if we all have to be a little lonely and a little miserable we might as well do it together! It will all be part of the experience, all part of the adventure!