After reading up on fieldwork methods that afternoon, I met with friends for dinner at a popular foreigner bar. We made new friends (one from Britain and the other from New Zealand) and both set off to Camel Bar for their New Years party. New Years is normally a holiday where I hang out with my family, and not a night where I go out on the town. I thought I would give this kind of celebrating a shot. We get to Camel Bar just in the nick of time (around 11:45pm). The band introduces the New Year by playing rock and bluegrass. The confetti feels like it fills the air, always falling. Couples kiss, bright lights twinkle, the floor is vibrating from the base, the group next to me throw their glasses into the air and cheer for the New Year: “gan bei!” “cheers!” I start to miss home. I remember this time last year my twin sister and I were playing the new Zelda game and beat it that night (I know, we are beyond cool). That was a good introduction to the new year, at least for me. Celebrating this time of the year with strangers feels a bit strange. I look into the crowd trying to find my friends. They are in the middle, listening to the music. I find them and wish them a happy new year.
My new British friend bought me a white Russian and from then on the night was filled with conversation. I listened about their adventures traveling for the past month, they were intrigued by my research, and I laughed at my friend’s jokes. I felt a bit better. The two people I was talking to decided to go dance. I stayed behind because I wanted to stay off my foot. I injured my toe the other day. While I relaxed on a bar stool, I noticed my friend flirting it up with two Chinese girls. I silently rooted for him and continued sipping at my white Russian. Suddenly, he looked back at me and said: “Hey, she thinks you’re cute.” I nearly spit out my drink. A young, pretty Chinese woman approaches me and says in Chinese: “Hello, I think you’re cute. My name is M.” She mentions that she finds my research interesting. My friend was playing the wingman for me…not sure if he even knew. My night took an unexpected turn.
I get to know more about her. She works for the subway development company that’s currently establishing Kunming’s first subway system. She says it’s busy and has long hours, but it’s good pay. We talked for about 20 minutes, then my British friend returned and persuaded me to join them dancing. I asked if M wanted to dance, but she simply smiled and refused. “We’ll talk later,” she said. After joining them on the dance floor, my friends decide to move to the party district, Kundu. I joined them, since it was closer to my apartment. I was getting tired and wanted to head back.
What I wasn’t expecting was that M was driving us. She showed us her car, a brand new, white SUV. We were surprised, what a nice car for someone so young! She must be rich. M’s friend escorts me to the front seat, but I said I can sit in the back. My friend with longer legs should be in the front. But she didn’t want to hear it, seemed like M really wanted to sit next to me. My friend whispers into my ear, “Looks like you’re the favorite.” I comfortably sit in the front seat and look back to find my two friends, a 40 year-old french man (where did he come from?), and M’s friend crammed in the back.
I have light conversation with M and then we arrive at the party district. It is alive with drunken Chinese filtering in and out of the club entrances. The club front walls were beaming with lights and busting out loud beats. I was too tired to even think about going into one of those. I politely excuse myself to flag a taxi. I heard later that M and her friend left soon after.
That was my first experience being hit on by a Chinese lesbian. I was very flattered, but also felt a bit bad on two accounts: one, not being attracted to her, and two, unintentionally “cock-blocking” my friend. In the end, Near Years Eve turned into a very eventful night. I enjoyed it.
Happy New Year everybody!