Crazy night out at Soho Bar
Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
33Trip End Apr 31, 2007
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We crossed the border from Vietnam (Langson) to China which was an interesting experience. At both sides we got the usual pursing of lips, waiting around (as we were all foreigners - the Asian's got through no trouble) and suspicious looks. At one point the official was closely inspecting my passport and asked me how many countries I'd been to. I readied myself for the rubber glove treatment but I guess they were just trying to earn their wage and after about half an hour waiting we all got through. Vietnam's border offices were bland and dirty, whereas China's was almost majestic. Large buildings kept spotlessly clean, and a massive friendship bridge to officially welcome you. Impressive stuff - all in aid of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
The thing that struck me immediately about China is the beautiful hills - the limestone karsts that you see in the paintings. Apparently we haven't seen anything yet, but the scenery so far has been lovely.
The next thing that struck me about China was the queuing system - there was none. Just shove to the front and use your elbows if you have to. The next thing that struck me (and will unfortunately stay with me for life) was the state of the public toilets. I won't go into details but let's just say that I think I'll need a few therapy sessions to get over the post traumatic shock.
That night we went out to the Soho bar after a dinner of noodles, dim sums and (for some) quail eggs. Soho Bar is the popular nightspot here and Sharon (our tour guide) had some of her local friends meet us here. They were very friendly and we were playing paper-scissors-rock and the local dice game in no time. The vodka and tiger beers were flowing and Andy made friends with the locals who loved downing shots of beer with him. Singers would pop up at different points in the bar and sing along to a backing track to western pop songs, getting the crowd going. At one point I saw most of our Intrepid group dancing on a stage in the middle of the crowd, and I have the photos to prove it. Most got home around 3.30am so it's lucky we've got the late bus to Chengyang today. There's bound to be some sore heads.