Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Sunday Night Party - a tale of joy and destruction

Hi All,

We are still here. About 283 days to go.

On Sunday night we had a great time at a party we were invited to. A couple (English man and Chinese lady, who by the way have a great apartment) held a party for no particular reason and a guy we met a little while ago invited us along. We went with little hope that it would be a good party and left feeling like we had made a bunch of new friends. I am so happy.

At the party we met two cool Canadians who are studying Chinese and teaching at the university. I thought and they confirmed that teaching people your own age would be a little bit daunting.

Michael the host of the party has a fantastic book collection and we spent a short time talking about the books and how interesting they were. An interesting mix of heavy going and light hearted.

I spent a while talking to Glen and Gary, the 2 guys we met at a dinner a few weeks ago, and we had more chance to have a good chat and get to know them a little better.

I told some jokes to an American bloke who seemed to appreciate my style (I did my two classics, the Indian Lottery and the Elephant in the Pub – incidentally my brother’s classics, but that’s another story).

The end of the night however took a peculiar turn, it’s a bit of a long story, so let me start from the top.

Brad was talking to the Wenzhou-nese about the crazy way they tell someone’s age here. When you are born here they call you 1 year old. You come out and your instantly 1! Then they add one year to your age at spring festival. So a baby who was born on Jan 15 might be considered 2 years old after just a month, but his friend born 3 weeks later will still only be 1 year. Anyway – so they were talking about people’s age and Brad leaned over to me and said “How old am I?” There had obviously been some drinking that night.

I told him that in about 10 minutes it would be his 24th birthday since it was 11:50 on the 9th of April. Well, it got around and pretty soon Brad was undergoing the sheer torture of having people sing him a hearty, loud happy birthday song, at 10 past 12 on Monday morning, complete with the hips the hoorays and the jolly good fellows.

Pained and feeling resentful towards me, Brad endured the *ahem* “singing” and then Sue (the hostess) remembered “we’ve got a cake!” Someone had brought it to the party. A few minutes later and Brad was cutting the cake and placing the pieces on extremely small paper plates. It’s useful to note here that most Chinese cakes are a simple sponge with a great deal of fake cream covering them, usually about an inch thick.

Now just here is where the story becomes a little strange. One of the people (lets call him Mark although I am unsure if that is in fact his name, but for the purpose of the story, Mark will do). Anyway, Mark and his girlfriend were 2 of the first people to take a piece of cake. Mark’s g/f was in the middle of eating her piece when Mark pushed the cake into her face without provocation. Being a playful Chinese girlfriend (not a western girlfriend who probably would have lost it!) she retaliated by wiping the cream from her face and attempting to smear her boyfriend any way she could. Mark began to defend himself and cake cream started flying everywhere, hitting the floor, the table and - much to the horror of our hosts - the couch!!! “Anywhere but the couch!” They yelled. The words were covered over by strained politeness, but you could tell that underneath our hosts where concerned about the prospect of a food fight breaking out in their lovely, clean apartment.

Then randomly and without warning Mark began attacking the other guests. It was one man, trying to insight a food fight among some bewildered onlookers. Every wave of violence was met with defence and stunned indignation. I was struck a painful blow to my hair (okay, not painful – but it sounds dramatic don’t you think?) and Brad finally succumbed to a facial attack narrowly missing his right eye after defending me from a second blow. After Mark had finally realised that no one else was joining his war he chuckled a few times like semi-drunk people do when they realise they have made a major gaffe. Then, with no one wanting to call him on his behaviour, polite conversation resumed. A few minutes later (after washing off) Brad and I made a hasty retreat because birthday punches were being suggested.

Anyway – apart from that, it was a great night, one of the best parties in a long time and we completely enjoyed ourselves.

Apart from that it’s business as usual. Next week we have a long holiday because of mid-term examinations. Brad will have to fly to Hong Kong to sort out some visa trouble and I might go to Shanghai with L (the chick who works at our school) to pick up some cheep overseas stuff!

Cheers everyone, enjoy your life.


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