A night to remember in Shanghai! On Friday, Allyson and I graduated from the Shanghai Institute’s TEFL program (Yes, we will be expecting graduation presents mom and dad). To celebrate, Tim and Robbie took the entire group out for dinner at a fancy restaurant next to our hotel. We dined on cured meat, rice stuffed lotus root, jelly fish, and for dessert, durian! Mmm mmm good! For those of you who have never had the chance to smell durian, you are missing out. In a bare-knuckle fight between durian and chou dofu, I think the competition would be neck and neck. They are both AWFUL! Honestly, where do Chinese people find all these nasty-smelling foods? And what possesses them to want to put them in their mouths?? Durian smells so bad that in some cities, buses and public buildings will have signs saying, “No bikes, no skateboards, and no durian!” Crazy huh, but some people just love it. To each his own, I guess.
So, dinner was wonderful and we even got spoiled with American wine. Carlos Rossi! Even the Carlos is a step up from Chinese wine. Allyson and I went shopping at a local grocery store to buy snacks for our train ride and ended up finding a bottle of Chinese wine for only 17 kuai. Most imported wine is pretty pricey (up to 100-some kuai!). Allyson has been dying for some wine so we decided to try it out. Let’s just say that the four glasses of Carlos Rossi beforehand did nothing to help the flavor of this wine. Guess we will stick to the mediocre pi jiu (beer). During dinner, we ”breezed” Elie. “Breezing” is like “Icing” but you use Bacardi Breezers instead of Smiroff Ices. You leave the Breeze for an unsuspecting victim to find – in his suitcase, in front of his doorway, on his chair, etc. Once the person discovers his Breeze, he must then stop what he’s doing, immediately kneel down on one knee, and chug the bottle. The other day, our fellow teacher Stuart celebrated his 22 birthday. He got “Breezed” four times that day, once by Allyson at 8am during our English teaching class. And I quote (Stuart), “Go about your business Tim,” as he kneeled down in the middle of Tim’s classroom and proceeded to stoically down his B-day Breeze. What a champ!
After dinner, we all headed to a ktv, even Tim and Robbie joined us! Ktv’s are Chinese karaoke bars. They are all the rage here in China. Unlike American karaoke bars, ktvs have private rooms that you rent for however many hours you want. We each paid 25 kuai and rented the room for two hours. OMG it was so fun! We were all surprised at how many American songs this ktv had. Everyone took their turn on the mic – Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, Destiny’s Child, Michael Jackson. Tim knew all the words to “I want it that way,” I couldn’t believe it. Adrie, Allyson, and I danced on the table while Stuart shook tambourines. It was a great way for our group to share our last night together. All the boys walked home like Chinese men with their shirts pulled up over their bellies. In the morning, we all fumbled with slight headaches to finish our last minute packing and headed off to the train station. Seven of us hopped on the train to Nanjing, two headed to Hangzhou, one went solo to Kunming, one stayed behind in Shanghai, and the rest jumped on a plane to Chengdu. Elie made a Yahoo! group for all of us teachers so we are hoping to stay in touch while we all take on China. I doubt this will be the last time we see these folks