Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The tickets, which have been given to us gratis through school connections, are in the middle of booklets of advertisements. The men rip the stubs out. Though there are trash cans just inside, most people just throw their stub and booklet onto the ground. We walk around the square. Everybody wants to take in everything. Miles and I are eager to get to the actual beer. Vendors are selling scorpions and tarantulas on sticks, snacks for the beer drinkers. We finally choose Paulener's tent. Inside this German-beer tent, a Filipino band sings American country songs. I cringe at "Achy Breaky Heart." "好不好?C'mon! I can't hear you! 好不好?" the singer's shouting. The crowd finally gives her a "好." Miles and I order a five-liter keg and stay put as the others leave. I'm not drunk, but after only one beer, I feel increasingly silly, and I'm laughing because the combined German and Chinese is like fucking with my ability to speak English. I want to be able to understand everything. The troughs of piss aren't overflowing. "That's because it's early," Miles says. Later, when tables of people stand and try to follow the German band's German—that's when you know shit's started. A very little girl is touching the stage, where women hardly dressed dance, try their best to be seductive. I'm trying to write all this on my hands. "The Chicken Dance." A conga line. The cups are so flimsy I squeeze through two of them within thirty minutes, sending beer all over both times. "Goddammit," Miles says. Everybody we've come with or we're supposed to have met up with—they're all trying to find each other, but it feels good not to move.

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