I went to a place called “CD’s Bar” with a couple friends the other night. The name was ironic only to me I suppose, owing to my past experiences in China. This one wasn’t seedy, however.
Actually, I met a whole bunch of foreigners marooned in various outposts around Zhengzhou. Among them, I found one Australian to be the most interesting. He’d been in the Zhengzhou area for ten years (yes, a decade). He wasn’t even close to speaking fluent Chinese, but he certainly understood what was going on. It was a pleasure to meet him.
Besides the Australian himself, I met:
The Australian’s son, who’d followed his father out to China several years back;
A guy from Oakville Ontario who, with three friends he met in Guyana on exchange, decided to come to China for a year;
A girl originally from England but who called herself Kenyan because she has lived there most of her life;
A guy from Seattle, Washington, who left the bar angrily quite early after getting into a discussion about the Iraq War with the girl from Kenya (the girl insisted “I’m NOT British, I’m Kenyan” – in the most British of accents);
Two men from South Africa and New Zealand respectively.
The bar contained exactly two Chinese: the bar tender and sever.
At about 2am I headed home, only to find my apartment complex’s gate locked on me. So I had to call out to the gatekeeper, who was sleeping, to let me in. Of course he was annoyed at me, but I was also annoyed with him. When the guy questioned where I’d been at 2:30am (in Chinese), I pretended not to understand and said “yes, yes, very late very late!” and walked up the stairs to my apartment.