Monday, December 2, 2013

Awesome Asia Adventure Day #9 - Working on our Resumes

It is reassuring to know that silliness
spans cultures, politics, and languages
It was little more than a narrow alley in Zangzizhonglu. On one side was the Dragon King Hostel and on the other side was a restaurant whose name translates to "Hot Bean" and yes it was "hot" as in bright, loud, lively, and filled to capacity by a young vibrant crowd. We peeked inside on the first night and we knew we had to come back the next night. That next night we tried to get in for dinner and were told they had no room and we had no reservations. We left but did manage to slip in later that night for a light snack and drink and to make a reservation for our last night.

That last night we got a table in the overflow room and ordered a couple beers and just about everything on the menu. It was sort of a Chinese take on a tapas bar - small entrees for two served on skewers which came to our table 1-2 at a time. The beers and the food kept flowing and when the overflow room emptied we moved ourselves to the main room and switched to some sort of fortified rice wine (40% alcohol instead of the 50% firewater we had the night before).

It was getting late and the crowd continued to thin when I made a casual comment to Dan that we should think about heading over to the hostel bar. Without hesitiation Dan said "Let's stay until they kick us out."  I did a double-take and he repeated "We'll stay until they tell us to leave. Trust me. It will be great."  I racked my brains and realized that I had never been kicked out of a bar in a communist country before so in the interest of adding to my resume, I said "Ok, that sounds like a good idea" even though it didn't really.

But it was.

When the last of the patrons left, they locked the door and began cleaning up. We kept drinking and picking at our food.  The kitchen help came out to the dining room to have their dinner. We drank and chatted. The owner joined them for dinner while the waiters finished cleaning up. Finally when their dinner was done and it was obvious they were ready to switch off the lights, we got a glance and a polite gesture towards the door.

This is when it got really good.

We stood and situated ourselves on either side of our waiter and handed the phone to his (obviously) brother "asking" him to take our picture. Then the owner and another waiter decided to jump into the picture and next thing the owner and I were standing back to back so we could be measured to determine who was taller. More pictures ensued and then we were on our way out the door with our drinks (and their blessing) having made three new friends and rounding out our resumes.

Dragon King Hostel Bar
We took our show to the hostel bar across the alley. It was a little jarring because it was filled with mostly young Europeans and a Chilean trust-fund student who had just gotten off the trans-Siberian railroad (he has been travelling continuously for two years now). All of the discussions were engaging and centered around politics and travel and philosophies but eventually I realized that I had to get up and function the next morning and that I had somehow lost my wingman so I worked my way back to the room to crash.

I am out of breath just thinking and writing about that evening. It is so vivid and surreal at the same time, with amazing people and conversations and food and drink. An incredible ending to an amazing day I will not ever forget.


"Little hand says it's time to rock and roll."
     -- Bodhi

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