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going it alone
singapore sunset
amw
I am durnk. I do have more cerebral stuff to journal about - a recent post on werebel got me pondering mortality and euthanasia and i kinda wanted to write something about that - but it seems this week's theme is drinking. So let's get right to it.

Mainland China bars are fucking shit. Shit shit shit. It's the thing i most dislike about living here. Literally just 10km away in the Hong Kong New Territories, there are regular fucking bars where regular fucking people go to drink a few regular fucking brews before heading home to their partner/family/empty bed. But, on this side of the border, that is not a thing. The (very) few bars that are set up for single drinkers are primarily aimed at foreigners.

Despite that, downtown you can take your pick of everything from theme bars to cocktail joints to sex worker haunts to KTVs. They all charge 30 kuai and up for a beer, and you can't sit at the bar. You have to take a table, and accept the fact that you are probably going to be the only one in the whole place drinking alone.

But fuck downtown and all those ritzy motherfuckers, right? I had already had a few after-work drinks (alone) and decided to head back up to my neck of the woods.

Just a reminder: Shenzhen is fucking DENSE. There are four 25-storey highrises in my complex alone. For several blocks around everything is 7 to 30 storeys of mixed residential/commercial. There are a few stretches of empty space that used to be factories, some micro parks and lots of light industrial businesses like mechanics and welders and joiners. I can't be bothered doing the math because i am drunk but the point is there must be tens of thousands of people within a couple kilometers circle of my place, and there are only two bars.

I went to both tonight. And i spent money at neither. They were both divey mcdive bars. Proper fucking dive bars. The moment i walked in, i instantly felt at home. No sign. Blacked-out windows. Grubby floor. Loud music. Disco lights. Busted up chairs. Hardly any people. All wasted. And then the waiter came with the 180 kuai minimum. 180 fucking kuai!?!? That's 23€! Almost 30 US dollars! Granted, that's for a "hand" of beer. I don't know what a "hand" of beer is, but i sure hope it's a fucking six pack. Even then it would be ridiculous. In both places i explained that it was just me, that i was alone, that i have no friends. I just want one beer and then we'll see. 100 kuai was as low as they would go for a single bottle. At both joints.

100 kuai! For one beer at a dive bar!? That's all my lunches for an entire week!

To put it in even more perspective, that is 5% of the average weekly wage. Think about it. If you want to drink just one beer after work each day, that's a quarter of your income gone before you even got home. I mean. The fuck outta here!

Meanwhile, i can literally buy a tall bottle of the exact same beer for 5 kuai at the corner store or at any street vendor and drink it on the street while eating noodles or playing cards or kicking back under a tree or falling off of a bicycle, splitting my face open, bleeding all over the pavement and passing out in the gutter. Seriously, why would anyone go to a bar at this point?

Well, i guess it's a group thing. Because of course it's a group thing. You go with all your buddies. You buy a "hand" of beer. You enjoy the free fruit and nuts and other snacks. You sing karaoke.

And you will never meet anybody outside of your bubble.

Sigh. Fucking Chinese bars.

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