You know, I came to China so I could research and understand more about China's tea culture. But actually, what I ended up doing is learning a lot about China's modern wine culture.
But why? I'll tell you why, I was kind of forced into it. Everytime you eat dinner with friends, or go out with friends (usually guys) - they always order beer or wine. Then, they make all kinds of rounds of toasts - because drinking alcohol is a social thing. You don't drink alone. You must toast a person, and drink together - and it's always bottoms up. No little sips or anything like that.
Then, comes bottle after bottle after bottle. After everyone is full from dinner, they will start playing drinking games. Yes, they have games here to making drinking a more fun pastime. Not like tea - not really any games to play - except maybe: "guess how much I paid for this tea?"
Like I said before, they have different drinking games here - like: rock, paper, scissors; guessing fingers. And another one is a dice guessing game. And there are many other of these drinking games. But the end result is the same - if you suck at playing these games, you will get drunk very quickly - it's almost impossible to not get drunk once these people start drinking.
So basically, even if you're a tealover, it's almost unadvoidable to not get drunk, or to not drink in China. At some point you have to do it - because that's the social thing to do. Even girls get really smasing drunk too - but they always try to avoid drinking, and try their best to only drink just a little bit. Except the men always force them to drink up, saying it's not fair. Hahahaha. But I'm not that mean though. I just let them get away with it.
But you know, when someone toasts you, you can't refuse, because it's like an insult. You don't give the other person face. So that's why it's inevitable and unavoidable to drink here. Plus it's a big social thing.
Then, the second day, after recovering from a heavy night of drinking - you can always turn to tea to partly restore you back to health - there's that and rice porridge.
Yes, I know it's better to stick to tea culture, but wine culture is so in-your-face here too, so it's unavoidable.
Immortal's Palm Tea - by STEVEN D. OWYOUNG AUTHOR'S NOTE: *This essay is dedicated to Frank Hadley Murphy, author of The Spirit of Tea, for his kind introduction to the poet Li B...
5 years ago