Tuesday, November 02, 2004

China, Part III

Our nights in China usually revolved around finding some kind of bar/restaurant for some much needed alcohol and some fried rice/noodles. In Lijiang, a cute town near the Tibet border, we struck lucky. On most trips I've been, there's always been one night, one night that stands out above all others and will stick in my mind forever. Here in Lijiang we were in for a corker of a night.

On first impressions, I had wanted to get the hell out of Lijiang, especially the very cute Old City, which was chokablok with tourists. We'd arrived there during the National Holiday week, when every spitting Chinaman and his video camera was in town. After spending one night there, we decided to go for some nearby Tiger Leaping (my next China post), before returning.

Hungry one night, and thrusting our way through the crowds, we decided to settle in at the Sakura Pub. A couple of huge beers were soon plonked on the table, while plates of noodles were being devoured. Aaahh, much better! The place was packed, the music was blasting (they even played some Israeli tunes that had M singing along) and people were enjoying themselves. A few tables were playing a strange dice game, which involved 5 dice and lots of shouting and drinking. We sat watching, intrigued, trying to fathom out the rules, but to no avail. The 4 Chinese sitting at the table next to us even tried to show us, but we were totally lost...eventually they showed us a watered down version of the game involving just 2 dice - this we could handle!

The rules: basically, a glass is placed in the middle of the table and filled with beer. Each person takes it in turn to roll the 2 dice (or shake in a glass). If your dice turn up 9 you have to drink the whole glass, if you get 8 you drink half, if 7, then you fill up the glass and roll again...and so on.

It wasn't long before we were shouting "Diou, diou, diou! (9, 9, 9!)" as each person shook their glass...and our game soon attracted a couple of English guys we'd met earlier that day, while others looked on at the rowdy foreigners taking over the pub...as the game wore on, we got louder and louder and a couple of the Chinese were certainly the worse for wear, though one of them was outdrinking us all! The pile of empty bottles was very impressive, some 20-25 stacked up around the table. Unfortunately the night had to end around 2 as we had a bus at 7 in the morning to catch, so we eventually staggered out, amid hugs and picture-taking with the Chinese...we went up the old, cobbled streets back to our guesthouse while singing and slurring our heads off, bloody foreigners!