March 31, 2009

The Ladybars of Sanlitun

My Irish flatmate arrived five days after I had moved in to my apartment. To welcome him a night on the town was in order. He was keen on visiting the House of Suzie Wong's. Supposedly a trendy Beijing club visited by Chinese ladies looking to snag Westerners, it turned out to be salsa night. After catching a few performances, we hurriedly left.

The night was still young so we took a taxi to the bar street in Sanlitun, Beijing's most famous nightlife area. I had been warned not to come here since it catered to the depraved. We were greeted by a line of brightly lit establishments with neon decor and groups of sinister individuals offering us ladies. We declined the offers and found a place with live music. Inside, a man offered to draw our portraits and a woman tried to sell us flowers. Once the band called it a night, so did we.


Chinese tout: Lady?
Frenchman: Absolutely not.
Chinese tout, leaning in with eyebrow raised: Sorry?