Karaoke and Gingerbread Houses

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December 14th 2009
Published: December 15th 2009
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Ok, so the two don't mix but that was the story of our weekend!

There are two very popular things that we hadn't done since we have lived here; Chinese massage and karaoke. This weekend we crossed off the latter. Karaoke houses or bars are huge here and when I say huge, I mean incredibly popular. Apart from going to the dance clubs, it is the thing to do here on a Friday or Saturday night. They are known locally as KTVs and any building that contains one will have KTV in big letters somewhere on the outside of the place.

We headed out to one that is close by this weekend with a small group of friends. I had never been but have heard about them since we arrived. When you enter, you are greeted by a host or hostess who proceeds to determine how big a room you will need. Yes, you get a private room for your group which ranges in size from one which will hold 8 or 10 people to those that will hold 40 or 50. And this place had many rooms. We were led to room 110 which was big enough for the bunch of us.

Each room contains a large screen TV with a couple of karaoke choosing menu stands on each side of the room. Couches line the edges of the room and a large coffee table sits in the middle. Each also contains a couple of big microphones. The lights are flashiing and the music is loud. It is disco reborn as far as the decor goes, at least for the one we went to. You have your choice of Western or Chinese music. Those that do this on a regular basis get to know whcih ones have which music.

Once we settled in and checked the place out, Tom and I headed out for a beer run and I'm not talking about outside the building. Down the hallway from the room was the built-in booze and snack shop which rivalled some small grocery stores. As always, people were hanging around to help us fill our little basket with stuff and then carried it to the room for us after we had paid. Once we got back to the room, the karaoke began in earnest as we took turns choosing songs and then singing our little hearts out. No rock stars were born over the course of the evening but we all had a blast. We arrived at 8:30 and left at midnight. At midnight the big crowds arrive because the price drops considerably and the waiting room was full as we left. We paid a total of 400 yuan for our four hours, which was pretty cheap entertainment!

Saturday was gingerbread house making day. We, and a couple of friends, decided this would be a fun thing to do during a drunken taxi ride home a few weeks ago but it didn't quite live up to our expectations, at least the finished product part of it. It was definitely a barrel of laughs but somehow the houses didn't quite turn out the way we had planned! They just didn't look like the slick little pictures in my professional gingerbread book. After five hours of baking, cutting out pieces and assembling, we didn't have a lot to show for our work except a bunch of empty beer cans and three semi-finished houses.....that looked like they had been through a major earthquake. But a great time was had by all and none of us had laughed so hard in a very long time. Not to mention, I'm sure we ate a few pounds of sugar in the process.

This Friday we are going to a Christmas show put on by the Wuhan Music College for local foreigners (is that an oxymoron?). Last year it was great so we are looking forward to this years extravaganza of Chinese talent. The weather here has turned cooler and rainy but winter break is approaching fast. We take off on January 17 for four or five weeks in the tropics.

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