Xi’anese Eves

Im sit in a Starbuck’s in Xi’an , the capital of Shaanxi Province, in a Monday night of August waiting for this torrential rain to cease. A young Chinese couple next to me ask in English to see my book that is laying on the table. I answer in Chinese “yes; there’s no problem but it is written in French”. The girl takes her phone right away and shows me her wechat ID written “ se fuir” and asks me what does it mean for I answer it means “to flee”, “to avoid”. While I write these words they are having a laugh trying to read some words in French.
Outside the rain goes on….

Minutes later we’re introducing ourselves and having a shy conversation. By this time a new friend of them has arrived at the scene.

Having spent all the afternoon and evening working, I feel like why not to have a beer so I invite them to join me. The guy who names himself Dennis is super receptive and answers “of course !” but the girl is a bit reluctant. He explains me they had been in the bar having vodka just before coming to Starbuck’s for a shelter and they are already a bit drunk. Anyways, minutes later I find myself under the storm and the four of us sharing two umbrellas. Fortunately the bar they wanted to show me was practically next door. It was a student bar.

We took a small lift in a modern buiding and entered into a smoky noisy atmosphere with plenty of beautiful chinese faces talking, laughing and playing dices. Actually most of the bars in China supply its clients with a cup for each player on the tables and five 6-sided dices per cup. There are different ways to play it, we were using only 1 dice per cup and who got the lowest number should drink or complete a “challenge”, consisting in drinking more/screaming out loud/asking random people to add them on WeChat (the Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp equivalent in China). While we were having a beer tower (just like if I was in Brazil), a waiter came to our table to dare my new friend Dennis. As the guy lost his own challenge we had some french fries for free.

The atmosphere in a chinese student bar is just the same from everywhere else in the world : loud music, people having fun, laughing, flirting, discussing, playingwe tend to think that in countries such China people live their lives too differently but after all is just the same : human questions and needs.

After all, this kind of experience is what really makes life worth living. Tonight I’m hanging out with Dennis & Co again.

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