I am sitting in a darkened coffee shop unlike really any I've been in. It sort of has the look of a dive, but the things in it are nice. It's like someone wanted to own a dive, but couldn't fathom the idea of starting a business and not having nice furniture in it. Ultimately, though, the strangeness isn't unpleasant.
The other day, Lee and I watched a movie with a couple of friends of ours. One of them made dinner, everything was very nice, and then we watched a movie on the wall with the friend's projector. Anyway, at one point in the evening one of them was talking about how dangerous the roads are, and he tells a story about a woman being hit by a bus and having her brains splattered on the sidewalk.
And I'm so uncomfortable because it's so random that I start up with nervous laughter, and then everyone's looking at me like I'm the *most horrible person ever*. We didn't talk about it for a few days, but somehow it came up again last night and Lee said that he almost did the same thing. It made me feel a little better.
The past few days we've been out of town, staying with some college students in a dorm. It's been a lot of fun--chatting on Friday night, talking about life and girls and all singing Alison Krauss along to a guitar, and then on Saturday a walk, lunch, karaoke, dinner, and roller skating.
Karaoke was crazy. I guess I didn't think it would be so exactly what you see in the movies. A room all to ourselves, darkened but lit very hip, a couch running the length of the wall, blasting music, singers that are as enthusiastic as they are horrifically untalented. It was so much fun. I sang "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette, and did duets to "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and "Say You, Say Me." And there was dancing, which was fun but strange.
Skating was just absurd. I guess it must be like this in America, but it's just funny how much of a range there is in skating ability. There were guys skating backwards in trains at breakneck speeds, and then girls falling (hard) every five minutes. I'd been skating maybe twice when I was ten, but I guess I'd been skating and rollerblading, so I picked it up pretty quickly and was about average. I took a lot of breaks, though, because there was one girl in our group who couldn't really skate. At all. So I'd chat with her every once in a while, tell her about life in America ("You go driving at midnight? And then you drink coffee?!"). A few times she let Lee and I take her skating, holding her between us so she wouldn't fall.
What's really different about skating in China is that there are no rules. People are going in every direction, as fast as they want, and you'd just better to your best to not get bowled over.