Birthday Party!

1 Nov

Some of you might know that I recently turned 28.  So this past Saturday, we had the birthday party that Rachelle had thrown for me. She had started planning a great event, with part of the area north of the hotel reserved, and food from the nearby restaurant provided to all, but as often happens in China, our plans didn’t hold up against reality.

First off, it gets dark -really early- in Guangzhou, on account of the whole country using a single time zone. The gazebo did not have lighting, or tables, or really anything, and we found out we’d have to provide all of that ourselves. Of course we’d also have to provide our own dishes and utensils, and as the end of the week drew near and Rachelle had to spend the next two days working in Zhuhai all day, we found this plan impossible to execute.

And then an idea hit us! Why not a pizza party at our apartment? BLAM. Rachelle was a little stressed at this point so I took over party-planning duties, and shot off an email to one of the students who had helped us out on our first days (and was, naturally, invited). There was a Pizza Hut right down the road, so I had something to work with. The next evening, I met Candy and her friend and trusty sidekick Ann for a scouting mission to the Pizza Hut.

There was a line. Also, upon talking to the lady at the front, we found that this particular one didn’t deliver, but we could order in advance and pick it up there. Well, okay. After about a half hour of waiting (next to a very loud man who came along after we did) we got in, and holycrap. This is not your American Pizza Hut. I had heard that they upscaled it for the transition to China, but…it was fancy. I didn’t have my phone to take a picture of the place, so just take my word for it. Moreover, pizza was just a small portion of the menu, and most people who ordered pizza got a personal-sized one and ate it with a knife and fork. But there were pasta dishes (and not the stuff you might be thinking), all manner of appetizers, soups, salads, and even steaks. And a complete wine list. Okay then. Anyway, we sampled a few varieties of pizza, I brought one back for Rachelle to enjoy after her long day in Zhuhai, and we agreed to reconvene before the party to place the order.

The day of the party came, and we found ourselves unable to figure out how to place the order. Shit. The website was not very intuitive, even for native Chinese speakers, and we couldn’t find a working phone number for the place. Candy and Ann said they would run off and get the pizzas while we finished preparing things. After rearranging the layout of our apartment, I headed down to the beloved Dig-n-Shop and purchased no less than ten large bottles of beer, mostly Tsingtao with a couple Harbin tossed in for good measure – as much as I like Zhujiang, the kind they have in the bottles down there is not their best brew. Fortunately, I brought along a large shopping bag to carry my loot back up the stairs. I came right back down and met Helen, my wife’s graduate student assistant for her side job, who helped order a few more food items for the party from the restaurant next door, namely, one jin of jiaozi (dumplings, the Japanese name, gyoza, is more popular in the States), and a large plate of noodles (for long life, of course). Shortly afterwards, people started arriving. Jenny came bearing a four-pack of Jack Daniels and cola, but Sebastian had some Important German Professor Business to attend. Paul came, and brought a large bottle of deadly Chinese liquor as a gift (“Someone gave it to me once, and I wasn’t going to drink it”). Helen and her friends came bearing a bright pink package containing two boxed table screens, which I will show later when I get a chance to take pictures. Also in attendance were at least four of Rachelle’s students (including our loyal pizza-troopers), and one of my classmates, who was able to stop by on his way to a Halloween party. Which explains the FBI tactical gear. There was eating, drinking, singing (of Happy Birthday as well as 生日快乐), and even a little dancing Gangnam Style.

And, pictures were taken. ENJOY.

ALSO!  Last night I had a taste of durian gelato.  It smelled much like durian, and tasted kind of sweet, with a steak-and-garlic aftertaste.  Not horrible, but I can see how it’s an acquired taste.


  1. How can I Says:

    Just wish to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply excellent and i could assume you

  2. krysztov Says:

    Haw can you…what? It’s as astounding as WHAT? You could assume I … WHAT?! Don’t leave me hanging! The suspense is KILLING ME.

  3. sweeney151 Says:

    I once had a student who brought durian into the classroom and then spilled it on the rug. Took a long time for that to fade.
    Sounds like quite an adventure over there.

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