Friday, 27 March 2009

A Seedier Side of Wenzhou

A few days ago I went on a night out with one of the other foreign teachers at Web, Kristian. Usually I don't choose to go to the bars or nightclubs here, they really aren't my cup of tea. Most of them are incredibly over-priced and the music is horrendous. I much prefer going to the places that are referred to as cafes, although from a western point of view they would be classed as a bar. These places have a much more relaxing environment, quiet music, and cheaper drinks.

Kristian and I decided to go for a couple of beers at Ming Ou cafe and then have dinner elsewhere. One thing lead to another, and after a few too many Double Deer beers, we decided to hit the bars. A short taxi ride later we arrived at Jiang Bing road where a lot of the bars and clubs are located. As soon as we stepped out of the car, semi-fresh air was instantly noticeable. The road is directly next to the sea, and it makes a huge difference. Taking a gasp of truly clean air is something I terribly miss from home.

We entered a large illuminated night club, the first building we saw. Once inside we approached the bar wanting to order a drink. Although there was a barman waiting to serve, it was a waiter who asked that we order with him. We asked for two bottles of Tsing Tao beer -- the kind you can buy from the shops for 3RMB each. The waiter wondered off, and returned minutes later with two bottles and a receipt of 100 RMB (about £10). We declined.

A few minutes passed, and I began looking at the crowd of people who were attending this night. One thing was glaringly obvious. A proportion of these people were -- how can I put it -- ladies of the night. It is an unfortunate fact, in much of China prostitution is illegal, but mostly ignored by the police -- for a price.

We didn't stay in the club for very long and decided to look elsewhere. We took a short walk outside and found a small road which looked like it accommodated some smaller pubs or bars. The tiny road was packed with people, mainly men which seemed very odd. We walked for a minute or two and realised there was actually not one bar one the street. People were exchanging money at counters for something, but I couldn't see what. There was a mountain of beer bottles (see below) just piled up on the ground. I glanced at the place where I originally thought the pubs must be located, they weren't pubs at all, it was a small apartment block. Both Krisitan and I felt very uneasy at this point. Something was going on here, whatever it was, we didn't want to know. We rapidly turned around and exited back to the main road.

The mountain of beer bottles

It seemed our night was an eye-opener into a much seedier, stranger side of Wenzhou that only exists in the early hours of the morning. I don't think I will be going back there again.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to say Chris, but even when I was in linhai tsingtao was 40 or 50 rmb a bottle.

But I don't think they must have served you the big shop type bottles. There is a draft premium kind of tsingtao in a smaller bottle, which costs more. According to an old german pal of mine, he rated that one and that one only as a real lager.

I'd be interested to know.

大眼睛熊 said...

That was a crazy night out, wasn't it? How many beers did u have all together,20? At least u all had a good time!
I am not really fond of the bar/pubs here in Wenzhou, but I do love some certain ones in shanghai, they're great!! :)

Chris said...

Alex, it was the small bottles they brought out for us. It is just crazy pricing though, I can't believe so many people are willing to pay for it.

I'm glad your the same as me Kimi, I hope you can show me some of these better places in Shanghai when we go. I'm looking forward to it!

mabelp said...

Ha Chris, I don't like the noisy bars too as I can't hear what my friends are talking about.

To be honest, I don't think walking along the tiny road is a safe action, so I think you'd better to take the main road when you go out, especially at night.