Day 27 - Live Band in a Western Bar

Saturday, March 5th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

I’m really digging that small dumpling (jiǎozì) place that’s at the entrance of my apartment complex. I brought Shimou there for breakfast, getting some pork buns and pork dumplings. She got some porridge, while I added some "leek and egg" buns. I wouldn’t suggest them.

I found out recently that the internet connection has been garbage because the government has come down on the VPNs while they have this big policy meeting. This means somewhat of a blackout, and a little sweat due to me being unsure if I have posts up until tonight, or tomorrow night. Fingers crossed I don’t miss a posting because of this, but I can't find out for a day or two anyway!

Beware the Guile of The Monkey King.
He's a Jerk.
Shimou and I met with a guy who wanted to make a proposal with us to teach younger children at his place as a regular gig. Maybe, maybe not. He seemed really interested in hitching his wagon to our horse, though I’m unsure exactly why. Based on interactions like these, I do get the impression that a Westerner who can speak Mandarin (I still can’t, don’t be confused) would have an easy time making friends in China. We leave the apartment, his offer lingering in our ears.

A coworker, Dan, had invited us and another coworker, (non-Carden) Yuku, to go to a performance of a Beijing-based band. Sounds like fun! As we’re walking to the Starbucks to meet them, I feel the effects of possible food poisoning/flu - mild delirium, sweats, unsettled stomach, and general wooziness. I feel bad about bailing, so.. onward!

Yuku, Shimou, Dan and I grab a taxi to our first stop, Nán Lúo Gǔ Xiàng, is that happening street we’ve been to at least once a week, it would seem (Day 11, Day 21, and one more I can’t find). On our way to the destination, we stumbled across someone dressed as the Monkey King. Let’s grab a picture! Immediately after taking a picture, he displayed a previously-hidden card from his robe that said it's as ¥20 ($4 CAD/$3 USD) a shot. Had I been alone, I would have walked away and told him what he could do to himself. Since I wasn’t Yuku and Dan coughed up some Kuài (like saying “buck” in English, specific to RMB), and we quit him.

The View from The Door. This is the place in it's Entirety, as far as I know
At Café 69, Dan appears to have some connections with the expat writing/creative scene. It was a sort of cozy hole-in-the-wall that I probably would have walked right past. Shimou and I were going to wait outside of the small, cramped room, even before we found out it was ¥50 ($10 CAD/$7.70 USD) entry. Yuku had paid for all of us and insisted we come in. Well, looks like I might be bothering someone by sitting in front of them.

We caught the end of a spoken word session and the bulk of a musicians performance. He had decent stage presence, playing off random things people in the audience said, and playing aggressively strummed electric-acoustic originals. 

In the West, this Might be Considered Racist
This next song is about how happy I am” he said. The song’s main line was “I’m unhappy all the time.” He complained about one of the strings being out of tune, mixed in with his happy, major chords. I thought it added to the song - the lyrics were unhappy, and the perversion of the happy chords made it seem like he it was another crack in the façade of the happy face we show the public. Like pretending everything is OK, but subtle signs of it not being real.

Wandering down Dark Hutongs at Night
Silvia arrived a couple songs after. All 5 of us walked over to The Four Corners bar, where the band was still setting up. Several minutes later, we have several dishes of food in front of us in a different venue. We talked lightly about American politics, why Chinese people think it’s bad to write a name in red (still unclear, something to do with death/blood), and many other topics. Yuku said she ordered her groceries online, which had free shipping over ¥100 orders, and accept cash at the door. If the rates are alright, that seems.. super convenient.

Back at the bar, the band came on. Mary and Ashton (Carden teachers, Thursday’s post) showed up. We danced and drank while the band played their interpretations of popular funk, bluesy sort of songs. After hearing a few fantastic versions of these songs, I was thinking “Geez, I wish they would play Stevie Wonder’s Superstition” which they then played. Oh man, it was good.

We had fun dancing and drinking until the band finished performing. The rest of us grabbed cabs, save for Dan, who decided his second wind was strong enough to blow him back into the bar for more fun.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
looking - zhǎo
finding - zhāo
hiding - cáng
stealing - tōu
Taking - ná

Editing Music
Cool Jazz Piano Lounge

The Jazz continues, narrowing down the list:
Some Acid
Some Bebop
Bossa Nova Jazz
Chamber Jazz
Continental Jazz
Cool Jazz

Bonus Pics: Drunk Shimou and Off-Guard Silvia & Yuku with The Monkey King

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