Foreigners In Beijing, This Is Why Cabbies Refuse To Take You Home From Sanlitun At 2 AM. Sorry, I Guess
By Drake Moreau, Beijing Cream’s resident asshole.
The brutal winters of Beijing don’t leave room for much activity, particularly for the expat in this spit-and-shit squat toilet of a city. Aside from sitting in your heated apartment watching Game of Thrones or Archer, pretty much the only other option on a Friday night is drinking the cold off your skin and making your way to a crowded smoky bar. This is a story of what happened when my friend – who we’ll call Drew – and I did just that last month.
Originally from Florida, Drew went to NYU law school and upon graduating received a sweet offer from a prestigious corporate New York law firm, but due to the global economy, the firm couldn’t bring him on right away. Instead, they basically gave him a year off, paid, to dick around. He decided to come to China. I didn’t meet him until he had already been here for six months, at which point he had a sweet-ass studio apartment in Season’s Park. Before that, he had lived with a host family while studying Chinese, which was not the most accommodating arrangement when it came to ending the nights with girls, so he actually spent most weekends in one of his friend’s spare bedrooms in Dongzhimen. The first time I met Drew, he recounted how he would bring girls back to his buddy’s spare and fuck until neither of them could breathe. I knew immediately that Drew and I would be good buds.
On this particular Friday night, I went to Drew’s place with multiple da pings [ED: “big bottles,” 640 milliliters] of Tsingtao. Our other buddy, “Freddy,” was also there. As we played a casual game of quarters, Drew told us about his former self. He had been engaged for a period before starting law school, but it turned out his fiancé was, in his words, “completely fucking nuts.” They had gotten into some minor argument at a fancy family function that escalated so badly that in their hotel room she ended up hurling a vase at him. Drew’s no Usain Bolt, but he was quick enough to dodge the attempted assault, letting the vase shatter on the wall. That night he took the ring he gave her and hid it. But to his immense surprise, the very next morning that crafty bitch was wearing the same goddamn ring. She had actually searched the room, found it, and put it back on her fucking finger. Needless to say, the relationship did not last much longer. The quarters game was long over by this point, each of us having drank at least four bottles and downed at least three shots of vodka, and by the end, Freddy and I could not stop laughing. This anecdote was just another sample for the growing body of evidence proving Tom Arnold’s utterly true words from the movie The Stupids: “Women: can’t live with ‘em, can’t kill ‘em.”
In prime form, Drew, Freddy and I didn’t even notice the wind as we made our way to First Floor. The bar had a cloud of cigarette smoke trapped inside its small space between the low ceiling and everyone’s heads. Crowded, but not so much that it was unbearable, we made our way to the bar, immediately racking up enough drinks for us to take over someone’s table. I spotted a friend who was with some random people, so we invited ourselves to his table and joined their conversation and drinking games.
Drew immediately struck up talk with an unattractive girl directly behind him. We were too drunk to understand exactly what she does here other than look generally unattractive, but she went on and on about how she was looking into these big-name graduate schools, like Yale, to study architecture. She was name-dropping like crazy, trying to impress us with her knowledge of architects like I.M. Pei and Maya Lin. Achieving the exact opposite effect, Drew began berating her. He asked her what her favorite building in Beijing was, and when she said the CCTV building it was game over.
Drew: “Do you even know the name of the architect who designed that shit?”
Unattractive girl: “Yeah, of course, it’s… umm…”
Drew: “Are you a moron? Are you just bitter because your vagina looks like the CCTV building so you just feel compelled to say that’s your favorite? What a waste of my time…”
Unattractive girl: “Well, why don’t you tell me who it is if you’re so smart?”
Drew: “I’m not the one jerking all over myself over going to architecture grad school at Dartmouth or wherever. And at this rate you’re going to have to blow the dean of admissions because your mouth is good for pretty much nothing else.”
Freddy was overhearing this while talking to others at the table, chuckling at random moments, and I maneuvered myself around to avoid the confrontation. I ended up meeting a cute petite Argentinean. She introduced herself in Spanish, and I was drunk enough to respond in Chinese. Eventually I learned that she worked for some airline at the airport, but I really could not have given two shits. Her long black hair accentuated her South American sass, and I swore to myself that it was on after a mini-dance took place between us to a reggae song. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a black guy with dreads who could have been fucking Vernon Davis squeezed past, turned his head to nod and smile my way, walked right up to the Argentinean, and they immediately started sucking face. I grabbed Freddy and Drew, who both had a one-way bullet train ticket to not-making-progress-ville, and said it’s time to bounce.
We stumbled past the balloon sellers and toy venders with their munchkins and eventually found our way to Punk. Drew’s brain immediately started clicking as he ordered us tequila shots when he saw Freddy zeroing in on a table with two girls. I have absolutely no recollection what they looked like. Zero. They could have been men for all I know. What I do remember is walking up to them in a strut, imagining myself screaming, “I’m Usher from the music video ‘Yeah’!” The least inebriated of the three of us, which is not saying much, Freddy was doing his best to facilitate some sort of conversation. He had a long-term girlfriend and was playing wingman most of the night. Who knows if he was doing his job. As I asked the girl what bullshit job she had here, I turned to see Drew slowly raise his hand above his girl’s head and softly stroke her hair from top to bottom. Drew continued to slowly pat and caress her hair with a look in his eye like he hoped she’d stroke his dick with the same care and gentle touch. I think it was at this point that Freddy pushed us away and told us to get the fuck home.
The next thing I knew, I was in a cab on my own heading to my apartment. I assume there’s a direct correlation between the number of drinks I’ve had and my Chinese language skills, so by that logic I was a goddamn translating linguist. Turned out though that I was speaking a whole other dialect, because all of a sudden the cab driver was yelling at me. I was in the front seat, screaming back at him. He pulled over against the curb, and so I did the next best thing any normal laowai in a screaming cab driver’s taxi would do: opened the door, jumped out and started sprinting at full speed down the street. I was Michael fucking Johnson on steroids. I can’t remember exactly where I was, but I ran down the block, turned right at the next intersection, hailed the first cab I could find and bolted. I think I turned around once in the 100-yard dash I just ran to see if he was following, and I have this image of the cab driver standing up right outside his car, the open door covering his lower torso and legs, staring at me with an evil glare. Whatever. Fucker probably refused to take me to my place.
I was pretty silent in this next cab ride. Everything else was a blur. I woke up the next morning to an empty McDonald’s bag with dried ketchup blobs all over my desk, fully clothed on my bed, and three missed calls from Freddy and a text from Drew that read: “Dude, wtf?”
Drake Moreau can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. |Drake Archives|