Saturday, January 16, 2010

The younger man

Michael and I were meandering around some old municipal buildings in the slightly bigger nearby city of Douliou today. We came upon a few surprises, such as a collapsed stone house that contained a jungle, an old Japanese era building in honor of Emperor Hirohito, and behind it, lounging in an outdoor living room, an old man and a young man having some refreshments. The young man pretty much demanded us to sit and have some tea. So we obliged. It is certainly not the first time that I've been in this kind of forced tea drinking situation, and not the first for us undergoing it together either. We chatted for a good half-hour. What made it a little extra-special, though, was the young man. He had the kind of inebriation where every movement was overly deliberate so as not to be disastrous. The old man didn't drink alcohol, but the young man had a soup bowl's worth of rice wine. We watched (beheld) him as he held the large bowl up to his mouth and then gulped it down with accompanying squeals and a bit of squirming. The old man excused himself for dinner and the young jaundiced-looking man started to paint us each a picture for our "happy birthdays," he said, in his only bit of English. When he had finally finished painting the second picture I readied the conversation toward our departure. We left and he said again in Chinese, "Happy Birthday."


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