I have heard numerous tales about the drinking tradition in China but this was my first real life experience in such a situation. Granted it was Sunday afternoon but there was still work to be done. My brain was conflicted whether to initiate a move back to the factory or to indulge these gents in an hour or two of mass beer consumption. I settled for the later. The fellows took turns making toasts with half glasses of beer insuring that my glass was always topped up. I knew this game well. It has been played on me many a time but the Chinese brothers I know in Bali. Except they just fill your glass with straight whiskey every time you are not looking. There would soon be a twist in the cat’s tail and the coin would flip. The predators were about to become the prey. The beer being served was a local brew called ‘DALIANG SHAN BEER’. It was smooth sipping and quite light so having eaten so much I was still able to keep it down.
All the years of abuse my liver has sustained were finally paying off. I had a few toasts up my sleeve as well. I kept a bottle close by at all times and made sure all the blokes’ glasses were full. If this was a test of strength then I am glad they chose this game. Had they decided to challenge me to a game of ping-pong, I would have been fucked. At first the toasts were amusing as long as they felt they were working me, taking turns pounding drinks and toasting me one by one meant I would be drinking 3 for their every one. I let a few rounds go by that way before I slowly turned on them. Before I knew it they were all glowing red and giggling like school boys, but all having a great time. I have to admit that I was a bit tipsy myself but these guys were smashed. And it is fun chilling with drunken Chinese dudes because they keep yelling at each other and hitting the table. I could just imagine some Steven Chow type cafeteria fight breaking out.
‘DALIANG SHAN BEER’ is 7% alcohol and although you do not feel it going down, it does pack quite a punch. Between the 4 of us we cleared a whole crate of large bottles in only 2 or 3 hours. And it was fun. Alcohol sometimes has a way of bringing down communication barriers. By the time we left the cafeteria we were exchanging elaborate stories and exploits. I always felt that generally, Chinese people were very crude and unaffectionate but as time goes on I find that they are actually very friendly people with good intentions. They are also extremely sensitive and emotional, although that could also be the booze talking. Looking back it seems I was destined to partake in a solid Sunday drinking session. My life had been lacking that camaraderie recently and I found it, in of all places, an isolated factory in Ningbo.
***If anyone knows of any software I can download off the net to freely manage music on my ipod and laptop please hook me up. I want to move songs from my ipod to my pc and vice versa. I already have itunes.