I am in Qingdao now, chillin with my man Li Du and a large group of artists and musicians for the "Twin City Art Show" between Chengdu and Qingdao. I had a great night listening to the guys tell stories and admiring the girls' style ... here are a few stories about China as it changes ...
The Illest KTV in China
... might just be in Shanghai. In the outskirts of Shanghai, there is a Karaoke complex run by a Shanghai boss that is renowned not only for its amazing interior design and architecture, but also for its vast numbers of young, beautiful women with angel voices and demure exoticism.
A man from Guangyuan, a city in northern Sichuan, came to this KTV with his partners in the real estate business and expected nothing less than the best. His greatest wish was to take home a local Shanghai girl -- renowned for their wit, culture and sophistication. When he asked the manager how many girls were available, the manager replied snootily: we have more than 150 mama sans. Astounded, the man from Guangyuan asked to see the girls, one group at a time. Over the next hour and a half, he went through 30 different mama sans -- each with between 5 - 30 girls each -- and found not one that he liked. Finally, the exasperated manager said: Big Boss, maybe you should just relax and lower you high standards, we are after all just a small business trying to get by ...
Puffed up, the man from Guangyuan agreed to choose a girl from the next group. Luckily, the most beautiful girl he had seen was in the next group and he chose her. She was polite, erudite, sexy and could sing all of the best songs wonderfully -- even the English ones -- obviously an educated Shanghai girl. Satisfied, he sat back and smiled and drank beer after beer. When the time came to take the girl back to his hotel, he unhesitatingly chose the beautiful girl with the angel voice. As he led her to his BMW he stopped and asked her: where are you from?
Guangyuan, she replied sweetly, a city in northern Sichuan ...
The man slumped and dejectedly told her to go home ...
What you didn't hear about Wenjiang
Wenjiang, epicenter of the earthquake that devastated Sichuan on May 12th, is an (in)famous tourist location. Deep in the mountains of northwest Sichuan, this town once boasted not only beautiful scenery and peaceful surroundings, but also some of the most beautiful and destitute girls in the province. There are two villages outside of Wenjiang that are most famous for their services: Jin Ma and Ganzi Shu. These two villages are completely dark at night and can only be reached by motor bike and with an experienced guide.
One night, after the Tang Jiu Hui (Food and Liquor Fair) was finished, a group of bosses from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing and other places were led through the winding hills and forests trails around Wenjiang to the villages of Jin Ma and Ganzi Shu. They stopped in the middle of a pitch black road and the driver dismounted, walked two meters into the inky blackness and called out. Almost immediately, a gate creaked open, floodlights lit up the surroundings and a young women beckoned them in. They entered the farmer's courtyard and were offered tea and refreshments. They chose from around a hundred girls sitting in the courtyard and had a great feast. The Euro Cup was going on at the time and the girls cheered and clapped with the increasingly drunken bosses until late in the night, when the last game finished. They then retreated to rooms in the back of the complex and only giggles and murmurs could be heard for the rest of the night.
In the morning, one of the bosses stumbled out of his room and went to the front courtyard for some tea. He was surprised to see a beautiful young woman from the night before wrapped in a towel watching the TV in rapture.
What are you doing? he asked her.
We can get the Games in the original language here via satellite, she said, so I am up early studying English ...
Guanghan -- Sichuan's "Little Hong Kong"
Guanghan is famous as the birthplace of Old Deng Xiao Ping, the man who led China out of the Cultural Revolution and into the modern era. But what many people don't know is that Guanghan is also the gambling center of Sichuan.
The system worked thus: There is a boss from Canton, a boss from the local police and a boss from the local mafia. They work in tandem and in peace. The Cantonese boss provides machines and money, the police chief makes sure the law turns a blind eye and the mafia manages the gambling hall.
There are three big gambling cartels in the city and they have come to an agreement. Each Gambling den is run by one cartel, but the profits from the dens are split evenly amongst the three. One month, all profits go to a one triumvirate, the next month to the next triumvirate and the next month to the last. On the fourth month, the process repeats itself. This system worked fine for several years.
One day, a railway police chief from the capital of Chengdu decided he was going to get into the business. He went to Guanghan, sat down and had dinner with all of the important people, showed the money to those he needed to show it to and bought the land and machines he needed for his hall. Well, business went well for a month or two, but soon the mafia bosses from the other three local dens decided enough was enough, so they bombed his den, beat up his employees and stole his machines.
Now in Chengdu, this man was big and had lotsa pull, so he hired truckloads of Chengdu gangsters to come down and kick some ass. Which they did. The wars went on for weeks, when they won, the den was on; when they lost, everyone sat down for dinner and payments were made. For a good year, this railway boss fought and paid his way through the local thorn bushes, hoping that one day they would accept him.
It then end, he sat down dejectedly in a tea house in Chengdu and said:
Man, I don't mind throwing down, I'll fight to the end. But the costs are so high and as such the business makes no sense. I am pulling out. A powerful dragon is no match for a local snake.
There are many other stories, like the abandoned apartment complex built in Canton that the police used to show porn movies. They blocked off the weed infested buildings and set up a projector, charging the local migrant workers 10RMB a head to watch Japanese porn.
Or the 8km prostitute avenues in Chuxiong and Pengshan, where very ugly young peasant girls run barefoot after black government cars.
Or the ongoing wars between the Border Police, Public Security Bureau and People Liberation Army over who can exploit the drug runners, gambling halls and other seedy business venture the most ... dinners can often result in gun battles, when officials from one or more of these bureaus refuse to pay the bill for the other ...
Or the various bloody business negotiations between the sons of Deng, Li Peng or even Zhao Ziyang before he fell from power and local real estate developers ... etc etc etc
the point is: China in the last 20 years has experienced News of the Weird that would fill tomes and tomes. Many an old artist finds sleep elusive, as he tries to not only document the excesses and insanity of this period, but also the many beautiful and unique aspects of this country that have been destroyed and lost in the process.
Things move so fast here, that what has been made and what has been lost may never be fully appreciated, especially with the government censoring everything and creating an image for the international community that has absolutely nothing to do with reality.
Apropos, it is barely 48 hours since the end of the Olympics, and Beijing is already returning to normal:
the familiar blanket of smog has returned, traffic is impossible once again, hawkers and callers are back on the streets, bosses shoulder their way through crowds like they used to and the Mongolian girls are back ...
Its all good again.