Published: January 2nd 2007December 28th 2004
Winters day on West Street
Richard braving the temperatures on a miserable day in Yangshuo
Merry Christmas! I hope your end of year festivities were enjoyable and you have started the new year on a good one.
While all you down in the Southern Hemisphere have no doubt been indulging in all the goodness that is summer, I’ve been FREEZIN MY ASS OFF here in Yangshuo. Not that winter here is any colder than Canberra or Melbourne, but it’s just that decent heaters are a rarity in these parts so you really do feel the winter. With the wetness and coldness factor limiting climbing to an extent, we gather around little coal burners inside Chinaclimb and Karst Café for a game or 20 of Chinese checkers, UNO or blackjack and do our best to keep warm. However, its not all bad and we do manage a little physical activity every now and again.
Thinking I was going to have a quiet Christmas in China was a mistake. After the Jia You Yangti!
basketball tournament fiasco I went straight into the managers seat in Chinaclimb while Mike went back to Canada to see his family. My task - manage a holiday program for 23 Chinese doctors from Shenzhen and a Christmas Eve party at the Chinaclimb bar.
Jack is the man!
Managing a Chinese business without much language proved to be a challenging experience. The Doctors were staying at Yangshuo's most expensive, Malaysian owned hotel 'Paradise Resort' who are a bunch of tight ass bastards and demanded upfront payment for the whole groups accomodation before they arrived. With no immediate access to the Chinaclimb Hong Kong bank account and 24hrs to find Y15,000 or have our bookings cancelled, the Chinaclimb family pulled together, everyone cleaned out their bank accounts (with cook Shu Shu coming to the rescue with the last few thousand in the dying hours) and got the bill paid and we successfully ran a great 4 day program for them. A few days later our rescue funds had arrived, everyone was paid back and happy. I was lucky to have China's best climbing guide/handyman/go to man Jack who did a great job looking after the doctors and the local businesses while I was able to focus on the party. If I was going to put on a party it was going to be a big one.
I hooked up with a British guy in town, Nick, who with his girlfriend April, run another late night bar in
Christmas around the coals
Keeping warm around the Christmas huoguo inside the Lizard Lounge with my Chinaclimb family
town that is currently closed over the quiet winter period. Word quickly got around town and before long I'm put in touch with another Chinese guy from out of town who has just opened a new fashion shop and has two turntables, a mixer, a decent record collection and a mate with huge speakers to ensure this would be the biggest party on Xian Qian st...ever!
By 10pm the bar was chockers with Chinese Santa’s, by midnight we blew the huge speakers out, by 1am Jack the Chinaclimb magician got the back up speakers up and running, by 2am most of the Chinese party animals had gone home, by 3am we were once again chock-a-block with all the ex-pats and foreign tourists in town, by 4am it was getting ugly, by 5am I was ugly and at 6 we managed to finally close the door, only to find a party had started around a fireplace on the street...
An all too familiar Christmas Day hangover did not prevent a nice traditional turkey dinner that night at Karst Café with my Chinaclimb family. I'm not sure if too many of my Chinese colleagues had seen a western roast turkey
Christmas Eve Party
Standing room only inside the Chinaclimb bar for the big party
with all the trimmings before. Our chef Shu Shu cooks us amazing Hunan style food every night and they all take pleasure in seeing my reaction when he serves up some of his more creative dishes such as frogs and snails. It was a good laugh to get one back on them all when seeing how much they struggled with cutlery and set courses rather than everything on the table at the same time.
Yesterday it was back to the doctors for the final activity, a rogaine (bit like a treasure hunt across Yangshuo) and some leadership games in the local park. By the end of the rogaine it had started raining so we called off the games, pulled out the cards and beers and threw on the music. Before long I had them all up and dancing to DJ Soup all afternoon long. We sent them back to Shenzhen last night with Chinaclimb hats on thier heads and gave a huge sigh of relief that we had pulled it all off and we could all go home and catch up on some sleep!