A Day in the Party Life of an English Teacher in China
Sitting in bed with a massive hangover and no desire to move for the rest of the day I figured this would be a perfect time to write about a day in the party life of an English Teacher here in China. 😀
Nearly all of the English teachers I’ve met here in China have a few things in common. They are pretty young, pretty adventurous, they love to party often and they love to party hard.
Here’s what we do on typical party days here in China.
During the Day
For me a party day usually starts with an enthusiastic knock on the door and the voice of my crazy South African friend yelling “Devin! Wake the fuck up! It’s beer-o-clock brother!” At this point depending on what happened the night before I usually chug as much water as I can, try to explain to my friend I’m too hung over to start drinking again this early, but then eventually cave in and cure my hangover with a fresh cold beer.
After waking up our other friend Alex in the same fashion then going for some delicious Muslim food we try to make the most out of the few awesome spots of nature we have around this part of China. We’ll usually stock up on a backpack (or two) full of beers and snacks and then either take our bikes to go climb a small mountain (if we’re feeling energetic) and stop for about 5 beer breaks along the way before getting pretty drunk at the top… or we’ll take a taxi to a remote location in a bamboo forest to go camping for the night, or most commonly we’ll head to the big nearby lake for some swimming and fun.
At the lake we’ll call up some other friends and spend the day swimming, listening to music, playing hacky-sack, playing guitar, and of course doing a lot of drinking. Often we’ll climb up to the water tower and jump off about 6 meters into the water which is a lot of fun. If we have the rest of the day off we sometimes go to the gazebo on the other side of the lake and start a fire on it to cook some food for ourselves.
During the Evening
After some fun in the sun it’s time to get down to business. With about 12 foreigners in the area there’s quite often a lot of dinners, either for people’s birthdays or for people returning back home or some other special occasion. Our favorite place to go for this is a really nice hotpot place with good food and ridiculously cheap 1RMB (15 cent) beers. These dinners are a lot of fun because it gets all the foreigners from the different nearby towns together for some good times and laughs.
Depending on the timing either before or after the dinner we’ll do some pre-drinking at one of our houses. We put on some tunes and crack open some double deer beers. These beers are unbelievable because they only cost 20rmb ($3) for a 12 pack, but then out of those 12 beers you get about 5 ‘winners’ which entitle you to a free beer. (We all yell ‘winner!’ at the top of our lungs every time this happens) From these 5 winning beers we usually get 2-3 more winning beers. (Around 8 free beers from a 12 pack) Then when you add in the fact you can return the bottles for 2 more beers (1 of which might be a winner) it’s possible to get about 11 free beers from our 12 pack. We have no idea how the company makes any money… we’ve been drinking for months for almost free!
During the Night
After this depending on what time it is we’ll head to the bar. We’ll meet up with anyone who wants to come out for the night, usually head to our favorite bar called ‘Sculpting and Times’ play some drinking games with cards or some Foozeball and have some laughs.
Next we’ll head to the club. Clubs in China can be stupidly expensive (like 45 RMB for a beer compared to the usual 2-5 RMB) but luckily we are all drunk before we arrive and we have some strategies for spending as little money as possible in the clubs.
One of my favorite things about Chinese clubs is that even when they have a dress code as a foreigner I can get away with wearing anything I want. I often go to the club in flip flops a tee-shirt and bathing shorts (because that’s what we had at the lake) and people are always amped about it. A Chinese club never has a line, there’s never trouble with bouncers, and there’s a really friendly vibe.
The key to spending little-to-no money in a Chinese club is to have a beer in your hands. The locals are really friendly and they love to drink with foreigners so if you look interested and smile at them they’ll definitely wave you over to say cheers and drink with you. Often they’ll encourage you to chug the remainder of your beer with them then since they were the ones who encouraged you to finish your beer they’ll reward you with another one right away. The locals are so friendly it’s not hard to get all your beers for the night free this way. I’ve literally managed to go to the club 5-6 times without spending a cent.
To get this initial beer needed I sometimes sneak it in my shorts or my jacket in the winter… and sometimes I get caught. But the awesome thing is… the last time I got caught pulling out an outside beer the security dude politely explained to me I wasn’t allowed to bring beer in… took my half drank beer away and rewarded me with a fresh beer from the bar for free! It was so awesome!!
Some of my friends from around the world complain that Chinese clubs aren’t the same as the ones back home… but for me I like Chinese clubs much better than Canadian equivalents. There’s a lot more going on, there’s a much friendlier vibe, and I generally have so much more fun. Chinese clubs often have live performers too. There are almost always live singers and dancers, and sometimes there is even a stage with performers doing balancing acts, or kung fu routines, or gymnastics.
If you want to get away from the dance floor for a bit you can often walk up to any table of people and join in their drinking games. The most common games involve dice and a bit of strategy but I’ve learned so many other drinking games as well, some involving funny dance moves, some being a form of rock paper scissors but with a pretty girl, police officer and rapist… and some that I have no idea what’s going on.
It’s so much fun to be a foreigner in a Chinese club because we’re generally treated like a Rock Star. It’s fun to be able to just walk into a club with shorts and flip flops and immediately get given a free beer and invited onto the main center dance stage to rock out in front of everyone. I’ll often be pulled into the front of a massive Congo line or some other fun thing that makes the vibe of the club so much fun. Chinese girls are also incredibly into us foreigners at the club, and it’s not hard to find someone to dance with all night (sometimes 3 or 4 girls at once!). When I was single it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to leave with 5-6 numbers in a night.
After the club we’ll sometimes go for some late night barbeque food to put a delicious cap on a great night.
A Day in the Life
The small town of Aojiang where I live can be boring at times and it can feel like there’s nothing ever going on. But even in this place we managed to make our own fun and have some great times quite often. The relaxed hours and (relatively) high salary of an English Teacher allows us to do a lot of partying and still save most of our paycheck every month. I left out a few details of some of the crazier things we do and some of the things I just wouldn’t want to write about on my website, but if you’re interested in that you’ll just have to teach English in China and experience it for yourself!
If your thinking of becoming an English Teacher in China you’re in for a treat because you’ll have some good party times ahead~