windsurfing, jaws and the karaoke misunderstanding in dongguan
This was a big establishment.
There was a stage with three young Chinese girls doing a vigourous boogie to a recording of the local chamber orchestra playing an Elvis Costello number and when the eight of us arrived there were eight people in the room, excluding the ladies – who smiled and waved; 2.30 am and so happy.
The music was in a self regulated loop.
Another three Chinese girls arrived with trays for the drinks order. Sixteen really cold beers please, and another sixteen to follow immediately – for we are boatbuilders from Mona Vale, France, Sweden and Hawaii and please ask the chap who runs the karaoke to get his shit together.
I’m with Anders, he’s a big lad – it’s now 3.00 am and dinner has been done downtown long ago and half the lads have either retired hurt or gone to the brothel but here we all are now – the eight semi-finalists. Anders ( he’s a big lad), two Frenchmen with colonialist attitudes, Mark the rancorous little man who runs the shed, Eddie the Chinese driver, Doink and Dexter* and the writer.
According to tradition three things must happen here and in any order; we must all sing, we must all drink, we must all play Bar Dice and when the food comes around we must all throw it at each-other.
Anders had learnt during the evening’s carnage that the writer had some poor knowledge of the sea and some experience in trying to deal with it – and being a recognised wind wanker he spent the best part of the evening taking large quantities of piss. But Anders was a big lad, currently with a big load on.
Karaoke in China is a wonderful and eclectic mix of the worst songs ever written sung by the worst artists who ever performed – Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley after the fall, early Beatles … Gary Glitter, Hermans Hermits. This is possibly due to the Japanese influence and although we don’t like to generalise, the Sons of Nippon appear to have been born bereft any western musical appreciation.
The evening deteriorated even further when the bar dice started – Ander’s favourite drinking companion – and of course he homed in on me for the kill. Little matter that the game was a stranger and the book of rules completely indecipherable; here the cup and the dice and the leering face of a large drunken Swede who from time to time laid his large blonde hairy hand on my chaste thigh. **
– and by the way, hands up anyone who needs to do something other than drink while they’re drinking, apart from seeing South Sydney get done again – those BLUDGERS!
I digress, but if those rabbits don’t get their game sorted I’ll start looking at soccer results.
Memory has grown dim here and the remnants of the evening that are retrievable flicker in and out like a slide show – Big Anders mashing the dice cup down again and again, the midget throwing watermelon pieces at me, the Chinese waitress beseeching me not to throw a chair into the karaoke equipment – big blonde hairy hands, suggestions that I may be hung like a peanut. Hermans Hermits in Mandarin.
About an hour later Mark and I were sat on the ground outside his mansion breathing deep of the toxic air that lies heavy and yellow over this place, and we could hear the massive roar from the everbusy roads outside the compound. His wife and baby daughter were asleep upstairs. Neither of us remembered how we got here. In two hours we had to be back at the shed for another 14 hour day.
Mark looked over at me, said ‘ That’s not Brookvale out there is it. ‘
* Three weeks later Dext came across a Chinese gentleman punching his wife to the ground in front of an appreciative crowd in the middle of town – so what else to do but walk over and give the chappie a dose of his own, just a couple of slaps.
** Don’t ever think that, AB is fine fellow.