A long way to go, still

Since Shanghai, I must say that I’ve acquired a taste for the finer things that China has to offer, and I’ve developed a love for skyscrapers: the higher and shinier the better!

Conversely, Tom and Marco S have developed a taste for all the weird things that China has to offer. This has resulted in a list of the ten weirdest experiences in Beiijng. The dick restaurant constituted one point on that list; other experiences include: a poo-restaurant where one eats things that look like shit while sitting on a ‘toilet’; a Ukranian restaurant with the staff singing communist rhymes, and Grandma Weirdo’s restaurant where one eats rabit-brains (what the fuck?). Every other week a new thing gets ticked off, and the fellas have the noble habit of kindly forcing me to join in on these adventures. I dealt with the dicks, and I can easily eat things that look like crap, but rabit- brain? No can do, dudes!
So, to make up for this folly (FOLLY, I say!!!) I thought it would be nice to go to World Trade Center III (Beijing’s tallest building at 330 meters; still nothing compared to Shanghai) to have cocktails at the sky- bar. Canadian Jackson, who shares my beliefs, thought this sounded nice and suggested a schlep over there on the night before yesterday. This was what we did, and the bar and service were everything I hoped they would be. These tall buildings are the epitome of China’s growing wealth and market for absolute luxury. The comfort. Aahhhh.

The night followed with going to club Juicy in Sanlitun. The whole thing was very festive: 50 yuan entrance for guys including open bar all night. The open bar- institute first seems like a blessing to a Swede who is used to ridiculous prices for alcohol at clubs, but then, all of a sudden you find yourself standing there at the bar with your newly poured rum & coke and you realize… it’s 5 a.m. Grrrrrrrand :S Then, a two days’ hang-over is sure to follow.
The club was excellent, though, and we met up with Valentina and Beatrice who were casually rocking the place, as they do.

What was not excellent, however, was what happened when Tom, Saija, Emily B and I came out as some of the last guests from the club: a bleeding Chinese guy, totally smashed, lying face- down on the asphalt. Second impression: an African guy and a Chinese girl screaming aggressively at the guy lying down and pouring beer (!) over him. First reaction of us four: ‘what the **** are you doing?!’) Response: ‘Eeeeer, Uuuhhhh!! (drunken and aggressive slurring, followed by them leaving )’. Second reaction: rush over to the guy, holding up his bleeding head and putting him in that-position-whose- English- name-I-never-know (framstupa sidoläge) after which he threw up and drifted into unconsciousness. I called a Chinese emergency number, but they only spoke Chinese. ‘Wo shi la- wai, English? English?’ didn’t get me anywhere, so I had to pass the phone to Emily who speaks a bit of Chinese. I looked up from the guy’s bleeding face and saw 5 club staff doing nothing. ‘People, get some water!!! Shui!’ resulted in no reaction. I had to point at a specific guy and scream ‘SHI-FU, SHUI!!!! NOW!’ for them to do something. Saijia had to run in to the club three times, telling the bar staff to call an ambulance. The repulsive response she got the first two times was giggles and ‘what are we gonna do about it?’ Assholes. Eventually, some girls who recognized him came out of the club and started screaming, crying and slapping him in the face (over his bleeding ear). They were so hysterical and inappropriate that we had to ask them to step back. The thought dawned on me: everyone here is useless at this! What were the security- guards doing while two people beat a third one senseless? A bloody guy was lying unconscious on the asphalt in – 7 degrees a couple of meters in front of where they were supposed to be!

American Emily managed to wake him up and keep him conscious by asking questions about his background and if there was anyone we could call while Saija had to keep a hysterical, crying and slightly aggressive Moroccan guy at bay. Stellar work guys.

After a good while, the ambulance came, and what a joke it was. It was basically the most unequipped regular van you can imagine. They had nothing, save a basic gurney. It took me 10 seconds to realize that the ambulance personnel were obviously on Team Useless as well. They had obviously not had sufficient training in any way, shape or form: they didn’t even check his pulse, they left that to us- exchange students with absolutely no medical training; they couldn’t even lift the man up on the gurney; when he regained some form of consciousness, no-one stopped him from smashing his head into various metal objects, and when he threw up the ambulance guy found a random orange trashbag (full of trash) and stuffed it in his face. They were even a bit reluctant to take him in the first place because no one there knew him properly = no insurance for payment. We all thought he’d be OK when the ambulance would come, but after seeing that, we realized that he would probably be better off coming with us to pathetic Zheng Fa Da Xue.

After the ambulance drove away, the four of us (some with throw-up and blood on our jackets) looked at each other and a series of similar thoughts went through our heads: First of all, thank god I’m in China with these people whom I can count on if something happens. Secondly, if something happens and these people aren’t with me, I’m screwed. Really, really screwed. If we weren’t there to help him, he’d most probably die from either suffocating on his vomit or freeze to death.

We all know some basic Chinese vocabulary, but how do you say ‘ambulance’ in Chinese? As Saija pointed out, we can’t even ask for help in Chinese. What’s more, the emergency-line obviously does not speak English, and my vocab does definitely not include: ‘bleeding’, ‘emergency’ or ‘unconscious’.

I can safely say that I have never been in a situation like that before, and perhaps it was a valuable lesson. Just hope the guy turns out alright, despite it all.
It is easy to come to Shanghai or Beijing (not to mention Hong Kong, although a ‘special administrative region’ with big cultural differences from mainland China) and be impressed with the booming land which can pull off spectacular feats when resources are focused. But after such a shocking display of complete lack of social security, it’s safe to say that China has a long way to go, still.

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