Cave Trolls

“You’ve never lived with boys, let me explain. We are cave trolls. We sit around and eat ridiculous amounts of food and pick our noses and plot how to kill hobbits.” Or so says Bambi, as he was reasoning why I should put two containers of the bolognese sauce I made in the fridge for easier consumption, rather than freezing them for the future. In preparation for Chunjie I finished setting my room to order (finally organizing all of my clothes instead of leaving them in a heap in my suitcase) and cleaned the apartment up a bit, and we had a nice little dinner at home. I ran out to the local Wumart to pick up a few things and borrowed Bambi’s bike. It being the first time biking in about 4 years, I was surprisingly comfortable, although I couldn’t adjust the seat at all, so the bike was far too tall for me (Bambi is a large long person, I am…not). I am eagerly awaiting the completion of our little apartment family, with Ginny, my second roommate, soon to arrive, and more University friends on the way. At this rate, people from our college are going to take over the expat community.

Chunjie has started, and the level of blowing shit up has skyrocketed from yesterday. I was awoken sometime around 7 by the sound of explosions, and it’s been going strong ever since. It’s far to early for that kind of thing and my everything hurts.

Last night, to kick off New Years, we went to a party way out in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea where we were, but there was just highway and apartment buildings, and nothing else, no restaurants, no stores, empty. To start things off, Bambi and I met up with three other Frisbee boys at the Dongzhimen subway. On the way there, Bambi prevented me from going and playing with the adorable children in our courtyard who were setting off firecrackers and sparklers. His reasoning is that children and pyrotechnics should be kept very, very separate and no good can come of it. I guess he’s probably right, but that was me as a child! Some of my fondest memories include waving around sparklers and setting off fireworks with my dad, hoping not to get magnesium burns while burning the expired flares, and almost getting shot by a bottle rocket by my sister. While waiting for Bambi to make a call, I wandered off and stumbled into this amazing shop filled with cute, adorable, funny things. I’m waiting to get paid, and then I am going there and spending money. Bambi was able to find me because “How did I know you would be in here? I went to the most Asian store I could find.”

The boys decided we were going to have a train party. Honestly, Americans (and other foreigners) have such a bad name in Asia, nothing we do will ever redeem our reputation, so why try? We bought a bunch of beer at the 7-11 (and giggled over the Pedobear candy and tissues we found prominently displayed, oh China, why?) and then embarked on a journey to nowhere. Funny, how the security people will tell a girl she can’t ride the subway because she has flammable hairspray in her shopping bag, but don’t care about a bunch of rowdy laowai with alcohol. Line 2 on the subway is just one big loop, so we rode it all the way around. We sat and drank our beers and had a very funny time. We clearly did not make any friends-we received many sideways and not so sideways glares, some envious glances, and a few laughs. The old men were really angry with me, giving me more grilling looks. I think that they expect the laowai boys to misbehave, but a girl? Drinking? In public? How shameful.

Paying the man for beer

Beer from a random man's trunk

The entire loop took us 50 minutes, after which we switched lines and ended up in this Beijing wasteland. The only people we saw around were running a fireworks stall, so we went over to ask if they knew anywhere we could buy beer to bring to the party. One guy who was just kind of hanging out nearby perks up when he hears us asking about beer. “Pijiu? you want pijiu? beer? yes? I have beer, you can buy beer from me!” And he trots over to the back of his car and opens it and there are several cases of Yanjing. Clearly, we had to buy it. His friend, sitting in the front seat, was just tickled silly by us strange 美国人 and had to take a picture, but I don’t blame her because I was heartily amused and took a few pictures myself. One of the boys also bought some firecrackers for good measure, which I had forgotten about until I discovered two strings of them in my jacket pocket this morning. Surprise pocket-firecrackers? Almost as good as finding money in your pocket.

Walking through this development of tall apartment buildings, we had terrible directions. At one point, Bambi, upon hearing English, started yelling up to people on a balcony about 15 stories up. Where’s the door? Is this the party? Are you the British people? They were really excited and friendly, but were Mexicans, and not the foreigners we were looking for. We eventually did make it to the right building, where we gleefully introduced the game of Slap Cup to the Brits.

I may have slightly overindulged, leading to a grumpy morning, as I woke up obscenely early to the sound of fireworks and firecrackers, which have only increased and will only increase more as the day goes on. Most of the foreigners here are making plans for 3-4 days of hard drinking, but I think my chunjie resolution is to not consume so much. I’ve got a dumpling making party today, and fireworks (I’m hoping to find my way to Houhai and watch them), and working at the Kitchen on Friday.


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