June 4th, 2002


Written Under The Influence Of Beijing's Best Pesticide

Well I'm here in a Beijing internet cafe writing this in a woozy state: The result of last night's wedding party, jetlag, tree pesticide, and one brutal mutha of a foot massage. Before I pass out, I'll try to recap the past 24 or so hours.

Weddings are always a blast when they involve a lot of friends, a lot of dancing, and an open bar. This one was no exception. Ah wait, did I say "weddings?" I meant "wedding receptions." The wedding was a Catholic one, which is basically like doing squats for an hour. A lot of kneeling. Then getting up. Then sitting down. Then standing up. Etc. Next thing you know, the bride and groom are married and everybody's thighs are burning.

The reception was great. Chuck somehow ended up sitting next to the TV news reporter girl, but it seems she's moved on - so no major public scene... much to my dismay.

About the only negative thing about the reception was the music selection. EK, the groom, proudly told me he handpicked most of the songs. Baaad news. The man has an unholy love for boy bands and 80's Mew Wave hits. The 80's part I don't mind as much, even when the DJ busted out with Alphaville's "Forever Young." But Good Lord, as soon as I heard the first Nsync song, I almost grabbed a chair and hit EK over the head. But beating the groom severely with furniture is no way to celebrate a wedding.

The flight was painless. I ended up finishing a whole book. Granted, it's hard to call Tracy Quan's "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl" a book. But it's several hundred sheets of paper bound together, so by that specific definition, it's a book.

Things got a little shitty after that. First of all, T told me to use the ATM instead of the airport banks to exchange currency. I stuck in my ATM card, and the fucking machine swallowed it. Luckily I found the bank's branch in the airport and they fished it out.

Secondly, the cab driver took me to the wrong hotel. Apparently there are two hotels in Beijing with the same name. On the way to the second hotel, I noticed one thing: Beijing is ENORMOUS. The streets are bigger than some freeways, and the intersections are about the size of football fields. My guess is, like Paris in the 1800's and Singapore now, it's all for military reasons. Having wider streets means the tanks don't have to get stuck in traffic on their way to massacre pesky protestors. Oppressive governments hate congestion just as much as you or me.

As soon as I got to the correct hotel, T and I ate some of that famous Peking duck. Looking at the appetizers, I could tell when a restaurant says they specialize in Peking duck, it means you eat every single square inch of the animal. One plate was just duck chins. I shit you not. Chins. Another one of our plates was just duck skin. I was expecting to have duck anus for dessert, but the bastards pulled a fast one on me and just gave us the liver instead.

What better way to follow up on dinner than a nice foot massage? Yes a handjob is nice, but Beijing's famous for their foot masseuses. It was only ten bucks for about an hour-and-a-half. To start off, they gave us free pedicures, my first. Some dude walked in with a box of tools and chipped away some callouses and shreds of manliness from our feet.

Then these two giggly girls came in and stuck our feet in a tub of hot medicinal water. After that, with Hello Kitty smiles, they proceeded to beat the living shit out of my feet and legs. Seriously. They might as well have been wearing wife beaters, because they bitchslapped, pounded, and knuckle-grinded my dogs until I closed my eyes and prayed for the pain to end. They also did the arms, head, and back; but showed more mercy to those body parts.

Then we headed back to the hotel, but not before nearly getting hosed by a truck that was spraying a crapload of pesticide on the trees lining the streets. This old lady on a bike was not so lucky. My guess is she'll be waking up tomorrow with a brand new third leg. I think the chemicals are contributing to this odd buzz I'm currently experiencing. But Lord knows I don't need a third leg on account of the fact that I've already got one (Drums please!).

While dizzily walking to our hotel, we were then approached by a female pimp trying to sell us even more "massages." I couldn't stop laughing. During her sales pitch, the chick was chowing on a drumstick while carrying a bucket of KFC - all while walking alongside us down the street. Eventually she realized that I was laughing at her table manners and angrily hurled her bucket of chicken onto the sidewalk.

And here I am, writing about all this nonsense, when what I should really be doing is going to bed for my early morning tour of the Great Wall and the Tomb of some fella named Ming.