not so radio silent

at first lijiang might just seem like a pretty place with stall after stall of pashminas and dried yak, but tonight lori and i experienced the fun side of lijiang.

at night along one of the creeks there is a row of restaraunts that have club music playing and flashing strobe lights a la mandel bar mitzvah days. many of them even have people dancing inside in traditional naxi costumes — it feels a little bit sleazy, but i guess selling the culture is what this place is all about.

and with that, i’m off to the gorge.

we ate at a place that the book recommends, called sakura cafe. the sign on the restaurant even says it has a “tourist assist area”. the menu had everything from japanese, to western, to chinese, to naxi food. there was even an “israeli set course” with some hebrew on the menu. of course, the letters for the word “israeli” were backwards, but the ones that spelt out “salad” were in the right order.

so this menu is longer than the one at the cheesecake factory, and this young guy hands it to us and stands there waiting. lori asked him to give us some time. he told us it aws 7:30. we tried to explain what we meant, and he said “i get it!”. i love when people use expressions like that, but can’t understand our other requests.

lori ordered bi bim bab, which they seemed to think she would have difficulty with. so a cute waitress actualy mixed it up for her. we chatted with her and turns out her english teacher is from canada. and she told us to stay at Tina’s guest house tomorrow night because she knows Tina and for us it will be really cheap.

as we were finishing up, at the table next to us a few african american (though they probably weren’t american at all – i don’t know the PC name to call them) people came in with bongoes, and sit and start playing. they’re soon joined by some other chinese people with instruments and seem to be having fun jamming along. the bar tender brings lori and i beers. neither of us like beer, but what can you do. we start sipping, enjoying the tunes, but are ready to leave and want to ditch the beers.
so lori and i decide to go and use the “free internet” figuring we can check email and leave our beers upstairs — our friend, the young guy who gave us the time, shows us the computers and waits. he doesn’t have to wait very long because the internet is down on both computers so we’re done immediately. as we make our exit he tell us we need to come and see the show. so we’re escorted into yet another room. it doesn’t look so dissimilar to a dining hall at camp. only not at winny, bcause the dining hall there was way nicer. in any case, there is a big stage (lori pointed out it would be a good stage for strip shows) and a chinese guy with a mullet, wearing a red chinese jacket and what can only be described as red MC hammer pants with a chinese character on the leg. he’s belting out some chinese song, and we’re all into it. there’s also the same flashing neon lights, AND flat panel TVs on the wall some playing chinese music videos and others playing finding nemo. we couldn’t stop laughing. after a few songs we left our half full beers and made our exit. but not before our young friend told us we should come to the bar for breakfast because we will get special discount.
one last thing: lori and i got stopped in the main square by a group of chinese women who were very excited to see us. they each had a picture taken with us individually — there were 5 of them. then they each shook our hand. i felt very famous. so you should feel lucky to know us.

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