We were taken to a restaurant in the shopping mall near the river for Teacher Appreciation Day. The banquet was pretty much your standard Chinese affair, although with a little more seafood than most because it’s a local speciality.
Everyone was going round toasting the other tables, but it was all being done with beer, and many of the toasters insisted on three cups. Chinese beer is weak stuff so that you can drink a lot and not really get hammered. The real crippler is the quantity, which I can’t cope with. You end up going to the loo every five minutes and feel horribly uncomfortable.
I’m surprised that baijiu didn’t make an appearance, but that’s a two-edged sword. You can drink a greater quantity without feeling bloated, but the alcohol content is fairly lethal. If I’m eating, I can cope with a small amount, and ganbei as much as the next hardened drinker.
In fact, I find baijiu (which is like rice-flavoured whiskey) to be unpalatable. I can tolerate it once in a while, but not on a more regular basis. Fortunately, Teacher Appreciation Day only happens once a year.
[05.09.14. I was unaware of Teacher Appreciation Day when I first came to China. For the first two years, we got ¥1,000 each (as did the Chinese teachers), but after that, at various schools, it’s been dinner and a show – and we’ve often had to do the performing. Often, we hoped that our performance would be so awful that we’d never be asked to perform again; and in one instance, this tactic seems to have worked. In Wuxi, we get given ¥100 and there’s no dinner or show. I don’t mind in the slightest.]