Adrian Smith (thefon) wrote,
Adrian Smith

One Night in Beijing

I went out last night to catch up with my cousin Simon, also studying in Beijing. We had dinner at a nice southern Chinese place in Guomao tower, which was also very reasonably priced (maybe £12/$30 total for a 3-person feast). Guomao is the heart of the CBD, and has all the international fashion stores (Gucci, Armani, Aquascutum, Burburry, etc etc). The feast was beef black bean, tempura fish & seafood, roast chicken, variety of green vegetables, combination noodles with pork, not so different from a chinese meal in London or Perth, though a bit less sweet or salty.

Then we caught a taxi to the Sanlitun expat bar area, to explore. We were a bit early for the crowds and live music, but after wandering up and down a row of identical bars, we chose a random bar to sit outside and people-watch. Pub/club culture is not traditionally chinese, so there were a strange mix of foreigners and "trendy" chinese. The clubs are fiercely competitive, and employ touts to harass potential customers into sitting down, so it's a bit like walking down Brick Lane for a curry. The club we chose sought to out-do the opposition by having THREE touts out front, plus the owner keeping a keen eye on business, to "close the deal". In addition to the touts, there are cute girls in beer-sponsored nurse uniforms (Heineken, Carlsberg, Beijing Yanjing beer). The club also had a couple of singers, bland chinese pop or covers, but a good voice. Ordered a Qingdao beer (a fine chinese beer, carrying on the tradition from breweries left behind by the Germans), sadly the beer delivered was only a beer _made_ in Qingdao, not actually the more famous Qingdao brand beer. Oh well.

Then the strangest thing. I hadn't really noticed the music stop, but across the road there was a crowd of workers (waiting for a bus?  just hanging out?), and taxis driving down the road were pausing to stare. It seems the music had been replaced by a pole-dance strip show. Well, not so much stripping, but very gymnastic. So that's OK then. But it gets stranger --- Simon was watching the show (curiosity more than anything), when Lynn pointed out: "that's not a woman".  Yes, the second part of the act was a male pole-dancer. Bizarrely thin, wearing some odd thing. So now I've been to a male stripshow.
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