December 6th, 2010
Location: Corner booth at The Coffee Bean on Wuzhong Lu
Time: 1:13 p.m.
There’s a storm a’brewing in Shanghai and I’ve hunkered down in the nearest coffee shop to escape the treacherous wind. With the four and a half hour gap I have in my daily schedule, I’ve got the time. The office has no wireless internet, so it looks like I’ll get to be even better friends with the Bean’s staff members. They already know what I like to drink.
This past weekend saw highs in the 70s. In December. I guess it was merely the calm before the storm. This weekend also brought about a bowling excursion. It was advertised as “Lady’s Night” in the church bulletin and while we were waiting to sign Sue up for a cell group, we were coerced into signing up for the Friday of fun, laughs, and bowling!
Well, there was definitely bowling.
Friday night rolled around and the 3 of us met at Hengshan Lu from our different corners of Shanghai. We aimed our feet in whatever direction it was where the numbers started getting larger and hoped to be enlightened by a giant bowling pin. It wasn’t a bowling pin, but it was certainly en”light”ening. Huack, huack. The hotel where the bowling was taking place was lit up like the Griswald’s house.
And we walked past it.
After Sue tried unsuccessfully to ask directions and was yelled at by the Chinese traffic monitor, we realized it was probably that giant shining edifice we had just been admiring half a block back.
Upon entering the hotel we were directed towards the basement and after pulling open the door we discovered our fate for the evening: moms and children. What the crap kind-of lady’s night was this? There was even some random dad there. We were all: WTF, mate?
But we handed over our 75 RMB and wrote our names on the sheet; I mean, it’s not like we could have made a graceful exit. Besides, we could still bowl together. Oh, except not. We were divided into our respective teams; I was rocking Team Hope. Ironic, really, since our team had not a hope of winning anything.
A good many of these women had not touched a bowling ball ever or for a good decade plus. I won on my team. My score? 82. And I won by A LOT. The lowest score of the night was also on my team. 24. Ten frames. 24 points. The one conversation I had was with a 13-year-old from Malaysia.
That night was weird.
I also think I may have inadvertently caused an argument. We were served dinner and one drink. But either they failed to mention that we only received one drink, or I just wasn’t listening. Whatever the case, I returned to the bar for a refill of Pepsi and the little skinny Chinese guy in the orange apron reached behind the counter and pulled out an already half-empty bottle. Later, I saw another women attempt to do the same thing and that same Chinese dude started yelling at her and kept saying “Yi! Yi!” while shaking his finger at her. I think I got him in trouble and so his bosses cracked down on him. After all, that half-empty bottle could totally be mixed with soda that isn’t flat later in the week and save the hotel a whopping 5 kwai. Obviously.
I don’t even know what else to say. It was weird. And I still suck at bowling. But at least in Shanghai I’m one of the best in the 35 and older women’s division.