I'm Hydraulic Coors Man

Fuzhou isn’t that fantastic; actually it’s almost unbearably humid here, but today was soundly fantastic for a few reasons.

www.mp3search.ru kicks ass. I bought a bunch of mp3′s there for 10 cents a piece, including Gimme That Nutt by Easy-E which I’ve been casually seeking out for a few months.

I bought a new pair of short at Giordano. The place is like a Chinese Gap-equivalent. They seem to copy The Gap in every way possible, from their selection of clothes, to their advertising. As soon as I enter the store I’m harassed by 3 girls all directing my attention at assorted shit that I don’t want or need. I bought a pair of khaki shorts and got the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

The gig tonight was incredible. It being Friday night, Coors hooked it up and made it proper. The place was huge; the second biggest of the tour (the largest was in Guangzhou; I wrote about that here also, probably 6 weeks ago). This place was giant – only one main room, but the ceiling was probably 70-80 feet high. It seemed like about half the size of a Best Buy, converted into a club. The best part was the DJ booth, though. Once I’m in the booth, they press a button and the entire booth is hydraulically lifted up about two storeys high.

When I stepped up they played the Coors theme song and put spotlights on me as the booth was being lifted, it made me feel like Superman except I had clearly sold out to a beer company. Everything worked out well, and afterwards they lowered me down so I could get some more beer. They didn’t think to lift some beer up with me.

Published on July 23, 2005

Shenanigans @ Fuzhou Airport

I arrived in Fuzhou last night after sitting around the airport in Taizhou for nearly 4 hours with Kim. We made good use of the time by pushing eachother around on baggage carts; we actually were able to develop somewhat of a sport of it involving unwilling participants with the time that we had. They had a new car on display (a Geely) in the middle of the airport which we each put our stickers on. He has one with his grafitti and I have one for whoring myself as a DJ in China. It’s really just a cool photo I took with a tiny web address on it, though.

The flight wasn’t too long, but this doesn’t matter because they had a magazine on the flight that was PRINTED IN ENGLISH. IT WAS IN ENGLISH. IT DIDN’T HAVE ANY CHINESE IN IT. WE WERE ABLE TO READ THE ENTIRE THING. ENGLISH.

It was really great, though. It was a travel magazine, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, but it was about travel in China and southeast Asia. I nearly read the entire thing cover to cover. It included a great article on an elephant reserve in Pai, Thailand which is open to visitors. Essentially you pay $250 for a week there (which is really kind of a lot of money for people who live on this side of the planet) and you spend the entire time living with and tending after these elephants. You live in some kind of hut or something on this reserve and you take care of and hang out with elephants all day. It’s an ethical place which allows them to live in their natural habitat where they spend half the day just roaming around, and you can roam around with them, ride on them, read, or whatever. The article says that they’re really individual and have different personalities, but they all seem to love attention and human affection. Pretty goddamn interesting, if I say so.

Also, that reminds me of an exercise that I’m going to attempt. I really have a terrible habit of cursing which I’m going to try to completely eliminate. I’ve been going through selected portions of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying again, for the second time, and I’m reminded of the Five Precepts of Buddhism; one of which advises not cursing or really speaking poorly about anything. I think it will be difficult for me, but that’s what I’m attracted to about it.

When the plane arrived in Fuzhou last night we went to the baggage claim to get our bags with the other occupants of the flight. When my bag came out of the mysterious baggage-hole I picked it up and thought it was a good idea to stand on the baggage belt and just stand there with my bag as it carried me around. About 100 peopl e or so were staring at me; as if being six and a half feet tall wasn’t enough to attract attention. One old guy really staged a silent protest by nodding his head. The brief dialog went something like this:

GUY: *SHRUGGING, NODDING HEAD*
ME: “OH COME ON”
GUY: “NO, NO” *NODDING*
ME: “OH YES, YES. YOU LOVE IT, COME ON”
GUY: “OH NO NO” *VIOLENTLY NODDING NOW*

Whoever thought I hadn’t made a great decision at that point was laughing. In another move of total impulse, I tossed my bag to Kim and crouched as low as I could as the conveyer belt carried me through the MYSTERIOUS GATEWAY TO BAGGAGE-LAND. It wasn’t as mystical as I’d hoped; a huge mostly-empty room with a pair of guys unloading luggage off a big yellow cart and tossing it on the belt. Surprisingly, they hardly even noticed me.

The belt was moving really slowly, so after being exposed to them for 5 seconds without them seeing me, I crouched completely still somehow and adopted the theory that if I didn’t move they wouldn’t see me, like they were dinosaurs or something. After three seconds of this I adopted that theory and waved and enthusiastically said ni hao. They eagerly return HELLO! just as I’m passing under the gateway back to the other dimension of Fuzhou International Airport.

I’ve been using a lot of my free time to assemble an itinerary for myself after I’m done with the tour. I know that I’ll be with my family in Bali and Singapore in September, but I also plan to go to Emei Shan and Juizhaigo toward the end of September before it gets cold. I’m planning to go to Thailand and Vietnam for most of the winter to escape the cold, but I want to go to Haerbin in North China near Russia in January to witness the annual Ice Lantern Festival which lasts a week. I can also visit Russia as it’s virtually down the street from Haerbin. I anxiously await the delivery of a package which will have a pair of new Lonely Planet books for me; a Thai phrasebook and a guide to SE Asia for backpackers.

I’m listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack by Vangelis. It’s fully sublime.

Published on July 21, 2005

Yue Qing Pagoda Trail

I’ve met a lot of people in Yue Qing.

Today is my day off, and I leave tomorrow for Taizhou.

Last night I hung out with Brook, Yo Yo, and Ping Ping. And one other girl whos name I can’t remember.

Brook speaks some English. She’s a cute short girl with blonde hair who is going through some kind of period of personal inner conflict. She’s very sweet and comforting, but prematurely clingly (not that clingy is ever good). She wrote me a note last night in terribly broken English which is the absolute quintessential Chinese love note. It closes with “I will miss you in my life”. I’ve known her for 3 days.

Yo Yo is the star dancer at one of the clubs. Not one of the regular dancers, but the one who gets announced and only dances for 5 minutes while there are spotlights on her. I sent a text message to Sacha regarding this earlier, but this has to be said here: Yo Yo fucking drops science (if that’s possible) on the stripper pole like no one else I’ve ever seen, here or in America. I think she could be a gymnast, but watching a dancer like that you can really almost see the art in pole dancing, if there is one. I picture her watching videos of other dancers in her free time and critiquing them or writing a book on this or something. She’s antisocial and likes to play games on her cell phone in a remote corner of the club when she isn’t dancing.

Ping Ping is a singer at another club. She doesn’t really speak much English, but enough to say hello and ask how I was last night. She has two fake tattoos, I think both of them temporary. One on her left arm and another above her right breast. I don’t know why. She’s tall and very beautiful and has a lot of friends.¬†She said she wanted a Coors shirt and I said I’d get her one. I’m supposed to call her today.

I’m set up to play at Zung in Shanghai on August 12th (if I remember correctly; the second friday of the month). Looking forward to drum & bass gigs, I’m getting fucking sick of playing house and techno actually. Can’t wait to get home and just cut and introduce some more diversity into my DJ life. Also, Angelzero is on Myspace. This is an odd coincidence, because I’ve been all about all of his tunes that I’ve heard on Thermal, BBS, and Replicant Audio. Really feeling some new ASC stuff as well, I hope to acquire from both of these guys in the near future. I recently acquired some 320 MP3′s from Beatport; a bit of J-Laze, stuff on Invader, and various dancefloor drum & bass. I wish Inperspective and BBS were on there.

I got a package from Sacha today with two of my passports, a small sack of bud concealed in a bag of tea, and a new Moleskine which arrived just in time as I made the final entry in my previous one just this afternoon.

Today being our day off, the Kim’s and I decided to go hiking. Kim had found a path to a nearby mountain which was where we headed, toward¬†a pagoda at the peak of the mountain. We counted the steps on the way up (1,234) and made it to the top to enjoy the view. As hot as it was, we continued up the path along the side of the mountain, going pretty far away from the trail. We hiked for a total of 5 hours and made it to some temples which were really hidden away. We found some kind of agricultural reservoir which Kim jumped into to cool off in, but it looked pretty dirty to me. We didn’t go back the way we came, deciding instead to make our own path through 4-foot high grass. The landscape of the parts of the mountain that we saw were absolutely unbelievable; more color and texture than I can really describe. When we finally made it out, we were in a middle class residential area unlike one that I’ve seen in China. There were no streets, just alleys in between all of the tenements. Basically the densely populated Chinese suburb. We got more than a few stares in there, and also ice cream.

I’m so exhausted now I can barely sit up. Tomorrow we leave for a new city; Taizhou.

The girl next to me has a tattoo on her right arm which says Bad Girl. Except the writing is particularly bad. It looks like it says Bao Girl. She’s yapping on her cell phone while simultaneously talking to someone over webcam.

Published on July 13, 2005

Wonder in Wenzhou

Where do I start with this? Yesterday I drew strongly upon one of my greatest influences; Ferris Beuhler.

I met up with Sophie, the girl I mentioned in the previous entry, and she showed me a lot of the downtown area of Wenzhou which I hadn’t had a chance to see. Several days ago I had seen one building with tremendous architecture – it was two 30 storey buildings connected by an enormous bridge, very similar to the towers in Kuala Lumpur. We were walking around the plaza below it, and I insisted that we go up the building and cross the bridge. Naturally, being Chinese, she thought this was a bad idea because neither of us owned a condo in this ridiculously lavish apartment building. As we approached it was apparent that the building wasn’t completed yet and had no tennants. We approached the sole security guard inside one of the buildings and asked him if we could have a look and he said he’d take us up. Hello best view in Wenzhou. He took us to the skylight condo on the top floor with 30 foot high glass ceilings which some rich bastard will live in.

After leaving there and walking outside she pointed out a hotel which she said was the nicest in town. Again I insisted that we go inside, except this time I wanted to see a room. The cheapest room, called the “Superior Room”, started at 1,100rmb. Not too bad, less than $200. We were able to get into there fairly easily, just by insisting that I wanted to see room at the English-speaking conceirge desk. The room was nothing short of fantastic. But after seeing it, I still wasn’t satisfied and asked the man who escorted us up to show us something bigger. Yes, the Presidential Suite. He said that I would have to speak to the Sales Manager to make this happen, so that’s what we did. She spoke English, and I explained that I wanted to see the room before making a reservation. After waiting in her office for her to make 10 phone calls, she brought me up along with the assistant manager of the hotel.

I can’t really describe this part accurately, but holy shit will have to suffice. I counted 10 rooms. Three bedrooms. Sauna, steam shower, regular shower with 4 shower heads, 3 living rooms, hot tub the size of a kiddy-pool, enormous kitchen with island, fireplaces, plasma tv’s, you get the idea. 16,800rmb a night, although the asst. manager said he could offer me a substantial discount if I sign a contract with them making a commitment for future reservations. Hooray!

We ate at Pizza Hut afterwards, which was my first time at the classy “Asian” Pizza Hut which is nothing like American Pizza Hut. No sir, this one’s mighty classy and expensive. And the pizza tastes just like Uno’s.

After that I went to the club to help setup equipment. Later that evening I saw the two dancers again, who didn’t say hello when they saw me. I understood this as them not wanting to say hello, so I didn’t say anything for an hour or so. Finally I said hi and asked why one of them didn’t say hello, and she said she was unhappy because she thinks I like her friend more than her. I’m still not able to comprehend the power that I have here. After one of the most embarassing psuedo-date situations of my life, the girl still has the ability to be jealous. Fascinating. Everything worked out in the end.

Today I was woken up at 8:30 in the goddamn morning by Sophie. She called my cell phone ten times, I didn’t answer because it was too early, and then my hotel room phone rings. It’s her, she’s downstairs waiting for me, we’re going swimming. Why the fuck do we have to leave so early? She’s waiting with a taxi, I get in, we take an hour long trip south to a famous spot on the river for swimming. I have a blast basking in the intense sun and meeting Chinese people and getting gawked at, get sunburned, write in my journal, and take an hour long trip back when the sun is starting to set. I’m on 2 ibuprofin’s to relieve the searing pain on my shoulders, back, and chest.

Tonight I’m playing in The Caribbean Club. It’s pirate themed.

Published on July 10, 2005

The Mystery of Yue Qing

Wow, it’s really been a week since I’ve left an entry in my internet time capsule.

I arrived in a new city yesterday afternoon, the name of it is Yue Qing. I’ve never heard of it and it’s not in my huge Lonely Planet China book. It looks like a big and very normal city though; strange. We’re somewhere north of Wenzhou. The city is beautiful. It’s at the foot of a set of giant green mountains, the sky is blue, and there’s a very pleasant breeze. It’s not too hot or humid here like it is farther south, and it rivals Zhuhai in terms of sheer beauty. The city is also fairly clean for China.

My last entry was in Wenzhou, shortly after bullshitting my way into the suite, if I remember correctly. The rest of Wenzhou was essentially a continuation of what I had started there, and also the relatively rapid recovery of my sunburned body.

We took a bus from Wenzhou to here, which was only a few hours, I suppose too near to fly. We arrived at the bus station in Wenzhou and there were a pair of girls, one of them beautiful, right next to me. I had fried chicken and sprite while we waited to depart. On the bus, they sat right behind me. When we arrived, we waited in the bus station for 15 minutes for someone to come pick us up, and the girls were still there, right next to me. The guy brought us to our hotel where we checked in and unpacked, and then walked outside to get an early dinner. Take two steps outside of the hotel and there’s a restaurant with tables outside where the two girls are sitting, looking at me. What the fuck, are they following me around? I haven’t seen them since then.

After eating we went to the club to setup. Our hotel is better this time than it was in Wenzhou, gladly. The last one was too small. It was like a small bedroom-sized room with a small-ish bed, while this one is about twice the size with a giant bed. Roll on, Yue Qing. Setup in the club was quick and the people working there were actually really helpful, which almost never happens. Usually there’s a small crowd of people sitting around on couches smoking cigarettes and drinking tea.

When the actual night got started, I was given every indication that this city would be great. The local Coors boss, decked out in (probably) fake Versace, quickly hooked up as much Coors as we could drink, which was sweet. I hate having to ask for it. Me and the Kims drank a lot, probably too much. Oh, also. I made a pretty interesting observation which I briefly spoke about with Kim. When we came in the afternoon to setup equipment, there were a pair of girls in our group that I wasn’t familiar with (not the two from previously that afternoon). They were still with our group when we arrived that evening, only this time in specal outfits. One of them was wearing a silver short skirt/tanktop outfit and the other had a red, kind of traditional Chinese dress. Neither of them really said anything and seemed quiet and demure. Fast forward about 3 hours. Sometime around midnight the girls, one at a time, get on stage and do fucking insane stripper pole gymnastics probably like I’ve never seen before. Suddenly they were both, especially the one in silver, sexy as shit. This is the phenomenon that I’m talking about, which I conferred about with Kim. When they’re sitting around, these are normal girls, not particularly attractive, just hanging out. Yet when they’re under spotlights on stage, they’re somehow sexy as hell. Maybe this isn’t weird to anyone else, but it is to me. I notice that the inverse is also true. If someone’s on stage dancing and I think they’re really beautiful, I talk to them later and find them to really not be beautiful. They’re good at what they do, and the¬†stage seems to highlight the best of their physical features, but this still strikes me as something interesting.

I finally found flip flops yesterday. I’ve been looking for flip flops that fit me for over a month now. The feeling is glorious.

I’m listening to a hip hop album mixed by Audio1 from DOA. It’s off the hook. Classic, goldenage hip hop. Tune of the day is Gimmee that Nut by Eazy-E.

Published on July 10, 2005

Captain Coors, Wenzhou

Last nights gig was fun, although I didn’t drink much to regain my strength from drinking too much the night before last. It was in the Victoria Grand Hotel, which is the nicest in the city. I still think it’s reasonably cheap, at $100US a night for the most economical room, although Kim disagreed with me. I had the chance to meet a lot of people last night. They brought another DJ from Shanghai there who spoke English. We were hanging out and drinking Rocky Mountain in the booth, exchanged numbers so hopefully we can hang out and drop some tunes while I’m in town. Toward the end of the night while taking down a projector a power cable dropped down and landed on the bar right in front of a girl who tapped me to get my attention. She ends up being a Wenzhou-native named Vivian who happens to also speak English (does everyone speak English here now?). We talked for a few minutes, exchanged numbers, and made plans to go swimming tomorrow. She says she knows of an outdoor pool which I’m ecstatic about; the only one I’ve been able to find thus far has been a stupid olympic size indoor pool with lanes. I want to bask in the summer sun and just swim and float around in circles although a high diving board¬†would really make an outstanding swimming experience. Vivian really seems like the¬†antithesis of the two dancers from the previous night. She’s relatively demure, very cute and polite, and doesn’t (to my knowledge) dance almost naked in front of hundreds of people. I can certainly appreciate the spectrum.

They have a tremendous ping pong room where we had a ping pong championship after dinner. I didn’t win, but I held my own against the mighty Chinese contenders who are fantastic ping pong sportsmen. Sometimes in the afternoon I watch professional ping pong on TV. I like ping pong, but it’s akin to watching professional wrestling to me. They treat it very much like a real sport and you can see the tension in the air around the players; this is no in-your-parents-basement ping pong, this is serious Chinese business.

I want to get an electronic english-chinese dictionary but the ones here don’t include pinyin which makes them useless to me since I can’t identify more than maybe 100 characters. I looked into the Palm option – I get acquire a Palm and load some software on it which will translate for me, and additionally allows me to enter Chinese characters with the stylus which it can interpret. Fairly badass, but also quite an investment.

Speaking of electronics, I had a guy approach me on the street this morning and try to sell me a really nice stolen cell phone. He offered it at 1200rmb; I didn’t really want it, so I said 200 and kept walking. He said okay, and I picked it up and looked at it. It was a Samsung, one of the sliding-faceplate models, but I don’t need two cell phones so I passed.

I will finally go to the computer mall here today to get some portable speakers. I listen to the ipod constantly (I’m listening to Patty Cakes’ “Let It Go” drum & bass mix now), but to¬†really achieve¬†champion form I need some speakers to play reggae when I’m reading in my hotel room with the window open.

Oh, there’s¬†a Coors boss here who called himself Captain Coors. He’s not very pirate-like, but the name still has charm to spare.

Published on July 2, 2005

22 Postcards

I’m waiting behind the booth at tonights club with not much to do. Now is the time that I would be writing in my physical journal, but for some odd reason there are a pair of computers back here with internet access. I think the Chinese equivalent of Kazaa is running here and downloading a long list of Chinese MP3s. Oh, I’m in Wenzhou now. Somewhere south of Shanghai. The plan has changed slightly. Instead of all of us performing together at the same clubs in sequence (Kim and Kim do their dance, Kim does his fire dance, Vivian plays her violin to techno, Bei Bei sings her songs, and I DJ), they split us up so we’re in different clubs. I’m here with Bei Bei and Vivian while the Kims are at some other club. Evidently there are a lot of clubs in Wenzhou, between our two groups we’re hitting 30-something clubs here in a short period of time. Coors will BE SO POWERFUL IN WENZHOU by the time we leave. I got some more photos printed today. They’re fairly excellent and they’re sitting in my photo album with their new friends. I printed some older flyer designs that I made years ago to put in a special design section of the album. They’re all 4×6″ designs so they fit nicely. My favorite one is the one for The Players Ball that was modelled after a pack of Phillies. Fond memories of that place and the mojitos and summer nights I enjoyed there a few years back. While I was on the train I wrote 22 postcards. That’s a new personal record for me. I think the old record was maybe 4 postcards in one day. I can’t wait to see the look I get at the post office when I mail them off. I’m certain that a few of the recipients will be properly surprised to get a postcard from China; a lot of them I haven’t spoken to in a long time. Kim and I found a place to print stickers before leaving Zhuhai. He printed stickers of photos he took of his graffiti and I made a design similar to the back of my buisness card to promote myself. We’re both sticking them all over the place. Tomorrow is the first payday, finally. I don’t plan on taking any of the money out, but it’ll be nice to know that it’s there. For about two months I’ve taken on the responsibility of replenishing my financial cushion. Ironically it’s much easier for me to do here since my living costs are so low. Whereas in America I would spend probably 60-75% of my income on living costs and associated fees, I probably don’t even spend half that here, with my rent being 1/5th what it was in Venice Beach and food being dirt cheap.

Published on June 28, 2005

You Wall-Hack Bastard

Dudes are playing Counter Strike all around me, and the guy next to me is cheating his ass off using a wallhack. Fuckin’ weak!

Published on June 21, 2005