Day 74 - 90's Quiz!

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
Smog Level: 1/3 Mountains

Early to bed and early to rise finds me exhausted, despite how I tries.*

It’s 30 degrees out today and the AC isn’t on because it’s spring. This seems to be why the kids are quite unenthused in class today. That, or maybe because it’s early on a Thursday. 

Sink Traumas

Despite the blurriness, we are stopped.
Yes, the bus is on train tracks, and will do this even without the workers.
To be fair: I've never seen a train run through here.
After classes, Ms.Handler provides me the supplies to fix our sink. Sweet. Hopefully that does the trick! The repair guy is coming some time after lunch, which means I have to skip the usual afternoon Mandarin class. I'm really tired, so I'm not complaining.

I zombie through lunch, still exhausted, and find my way home through the haze. Maybe it’s the heat? Maybe I didn’t sleep as well as I thought? People suggested that it’s still part of the adjustment to Beijing. Dan suggested that the first two months are adrenaline fueled, but once that wears off you are in a temporary slump.

Cubic Art, anyone?
"I'm also Drunk"

The repair guy shows up, and I give the money to Josh so that I can pass out. 2 hour nap later, I’m back on the bus to school to get one-on-one tutoring with Aurora. Given that she just needs practice on the guitar, I teach her basic music theory in exchange for common Mandarin phrases. One such example is “wǒ yě shì zuì le” [wah/woah yeh shur zoy luh] which directly translates to “I am also drunk,” but is used as an expression for being at a loss for words. If something baffles you, you could say it then as in “I've got nothin'.”

Today is 90’s-themed quiz night at Mado bar, that ol’ hangout that we haven’t heard about in a good 4 weeks or so. Tad and Mary are down, Dan is not. However, Tad invited some friends of his to join. More the merrier!

Absinthe: Drink of the Gods
Hutong Atmosphere

I cab alone, and wander down the hutong alone. The smell of chuar (kabobs) hangs thick in the air with well lit shops giving way to dark, crumbling structures and the smell of damp earth. Three-wheeled motorized vehicles whiz by, and a whining boy nags at his father. The foot traffic is heavier than a dark alley would normally welcome.

I reach my destination to find Mary, alone. We grab some cheap Hoegaarden (¥15/bottle; 2.95 CAD/2.32 USD) and relocate to where Tads friends have arrived, sans Tad. Introductions! Meet Chelsea, Kai, and Paulo. They’re pretty cool, and seem pumped for 90’s night!


Thing is... Chinese people can’t help with these events. It’s almost exclusively focused on Western Culture, and China simply hasn’t had access to much. Example: They don’t have The Simpsons here at all. Well, at least that’s how Kai made it seem. He was forced to sit, bored, for the entire quiz. Our team did accomplish getting last place, though! For some reason, this awarded us a round of shots. Best guess: it's because we were punctual.

The Whole Room, pretty much
Homeward Revelations

After leaving the bar, it’s revealed that those aren’t actually Tad’s friends. He’s been talking to Chelsea on Tinder (“Smash app” as he tenderly refers to it), and this is his first time meeting her. I laugh to myself about that. It’s better we didn’t know until after, I think.

..But First, Falafel

We commemorate the event with late-night falafel and schnitzel. It seems like a popular locale for Westerners, despite being in the middle of the hutong maze. The new guy working there can speak decent English. We eat too much, and roll toward the nearest cab.

Cabbing Advice

Cabbing home isn’t as hard as you’d think. All you need to know is “turn left/right” and “go straight” as well as the name of your nearest subway station. Say the station (hopefully with the correct tones), then direct from there. Final thing to know: stop here (tíng zhè ba [ting jurr ba], literally: stop here {suggestion word}). Useful, but not required.

Easiest way: Have the address written in your phone and show it to them. Then just point and mime, grunting.

*I decided on the full rhyme instead of the “rise-try” near-rhyme. Sue me.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
Go Straight
Zhí zǒu
[jurr zoh]
Turn Left
Zǔo zhuǎn
[zwoh jwan]
Turn Right
yòu zhuǎn
[yoh jwan]

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