Almost two weeks ago I committed to continuing a few little tales that I teased you all with. It was a promise I immediately regretted; I am publicly committing myself to never publicly committing to anything. I was excited when I wrote that post, eager to fill everyone in on the madness that I’d seen, but as the days passed I got busier and had less and less time for doing my bloody washing never mind writing a post on here. Excuses excuses. It is funny, though, how you are completely prepared to commit to insane amounts of communication right before, or early on in, a trip. My family kindly showed interes in receiving regular updates, which I gleefully agreed to. Following through is another thing entirely! But I’ll get there. Hell, I was only here a few days and I promised the whole internet (ok…ok, 3-4 of my facebook friends who read this) that I’d happily go into detail on multiple complicated and confusing incidents. Anyway lets get it done, one less thing to worry about.
First one was about taking the Chinese Working VISA mental and physical healthcheck accompanied by someone having a mental breakdown. I’m afraid I’m going to have to be a massive dick at this point and say I really don’t feel comfortable going into much more detail about this now, at least not in a public way like this. I always promised myself I wouldn’t hold back on here but lets just say the individual concerned has since suffered greatly and unfortunately and whimsical posts about something like this are no better than me writing a humorous post about someone getting hit by a Tuc-Tuc full of melons. Bad analogy, that would have been uncontroversially hilarious.
The first night out was pretty funny, although it feels like a long time ago now. In typical almost-but-not-quite Chinese form, the club could have been significantly improved by a few alterations. Removing everything inside would have been a good start, followed shortly after by knocking the building down and placing one small speaker looping the sound of a grown man weeping amongst the rubble. Of course, this is exactly the sort of club you want to go to in China, or in fact anywhere.There’s a great honesty to a place which is such a dive that everyone knows that everyone else is just there to get battered and have a laugh. There were a few baffling occurrences that night but the main thing I recall is that it seems fairly western and familiar for regular 30 minute long chunks. Then there will be 2 minutes of madness. For example, the first section of normality was interrupted by a group of men in chefs hats coming out of fucking nowhere to sing a lengthy dubstep-backed rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, accompanied by the entire bar staff. I asked one of the waiters whose birthday it was. Yep you guessed it, there was no birthday. In fact I don’t think the English was there to be understood, it was simply some song with English in it, therefore real cool! The night concluded with Lewis having to push an overenthusiastic Chinese man out of our elevator after he followed him back to the apartment to, presumably, gain carnal knowledge.
What else was there. Insane construction, the photo below says it all really. Everything is done in this country on an entirely different scale to anything I am used to. There are entire cities being built (Google Ghost Cities) with nobody to live in them. Skyscrapers appear in no time. The road from Fuzhou airport to the city proper was littered with huge communities in construction, areas for hundreds of thousands of people to live. Vast road systems, communication lines, sewage systems are being built on the outskirts of the city constantly to keep up with the demand for housing. Apparently it is often done preemptively. Growth is so fast here that the government will build flats for 100,000 people outside a city just so, when the time inevitably arrives, the people who wish to settle there will have somewhere to live. It is literally staggering and somehow makes our umming and ahhing regarding, for example, the high speed rail system seem both incredibly slow and reassuringly considered.
The roads and the supermarkets honestly deserve posts of their own so I will briefly mention the fireworks. It is pretty clear that the Chinese, having invented them, feel that they must utilise fireworks with some regularity and vigor. We have only been in China during one of the major festival nights (lantern festival) but it was genuinely one of the most incredible things I have seen and heard in my life. As I was on the bus towards the city centre it was like I was being driven into some kind of flamboyant war zone where two opposing forces were bombarding each other with a kaleidoscopic array of colourful explosives for reasons they had long forgotten. On approach I assumed that people were, perhaps, occupying specific arranged zones from which to set off the fireworks. Standing from a safe distance, orderly queues were lining up to carefully aim and launch their small collection of fireworks before heading home for a cup of tea. I think that’s the most wrong anybody has been about anything ever. I was literally thinking 1/reality. Re-read my imagining inverting everything but the presence of fireworks and you have some idea what was going on. It was complete mayhem but it was incredible to see. After standing on our balcony briefly, only to have to retreat inside as we realised people were launching fireworks so they exploded feet from peoples balconies, we headed up to the roof. It was a 360 degree firework show accompanied by deafening noise. We weren’t alone up their either, a nice bloke in his dressing gown obviously felt that our apartment block were letting the side down and had decided to put down his pipe, leave his fireplace and go set off a few for the team. Mad, but great fun. (I have some of this on video but, as of yet, can’t make youtube work over here, despite the VPN
Once again I must plead tiredness and cut short. I’m teaching private lessons this week which is why I’ve been busy. Expect more soon!