I called Charlie after the opera and made my way across town to his apartment. Wu, his roommate, wanted to check out a popular bar/club called 88, and while being in a loud club was not high on my preferred activities, I was more interested in spending a little more time with a friend from home than where that time was spent.
My initial plan was to have a drink or two, and then go back to the hostel for some sleep before taking an early shuttle to the Chengdu airport. In reality, I’m a man of the moment and once we got into the club, and I started to get a kick out of the experience, there was no turning back.
For a Monday night, 88 was packed solid. Charlie said the setup of the club was typical for China. People sat and stood around tables, often having ordered a bottle of liquor and associated mixers. For our table, it was Jack Daniels and Coke. The staff do everything from delivering ornate fruit plates and popcorn to mixing and pouring your drinks. It’s almost a bit too much customer service.
Meanwhile, DJ’s alternate with live singers. The music being played was truly bad. MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice remixes were heard, and all Charlie and I could do to bear it was continue to drain our glasses. We also started to play a popular Chinese drinking game he had taught me a few nights ago. Each player has 5 dice that he shakes up under a cup. You then guess the number of numbers between the two players, bluffing if you want. Loser drinks. I lost a lot.
Upon returning from the toilets, Charlie told me to bring my camera. Photos weren’t allowed inside, but being the rebel that I am, I took them anyways. Charlie pointed to a bunch of anti-Japanese posters on the walls leading to the restrooms. They were clearly racist, and a Chinese guy nearby was quite up front about letting us know the Japanese weren’t welcome there. Charlie said these blatant sentiments go back to Japan’s invasion during WWII.
After we had our fill of bad music and whiskey drinks, we went to a popular late-night restaurant for noodles before returning to Charlie’s apartment. By this time, I had decided to stay up all night since I had to catch a 6am shuttle to the airport anyways. We played Guitar Hero, a video game I had become fascinated with while staying with him. And then we said goodbye, and I caught a taxi back to Sim’s in the early morning.
Nepal was awaiting my arrival.