So, the top 4 things Ray needed to do in Beijing were: hike the Great Wall, play ultimate frisbee, visit some touristy crap, and see my band. Autobots, Deploy! decided on Thursday night practice and Ray planned to be our audience of one. It would be his only chance to see us play, and we figured it was better than nothing. You can imagine our disappointment when we learned the practice space had given up our spot. We decided to grab a beer at Salud in Nan Lou Gu Xiang, play some dice, and enjoy the night anyway. Soon we got a call saying the room would be open a little later if we wanted to wait. Several beers, rums, and games of dice later (Ray won 3 out of 4 games so Jeff and I paid the tab), we headed back over for one of the most energetic jam sessions i can remember. Ray and i were two drunk dudes, stumbling home at 1am. Ray took this short video to commemorate the night... basically just the tail end of a random drum solo and groove.
The next day after work and a big chuar dinner (Dad said it was the best lamb he's ever had), jon, jeff, ray and i went to What Bar to see some friends play. We had never been before, so we had an ulterior motive of booking a gig. Well, we met the lady who runs the place and asked her about playing there. She gave us a list of six options for the next month, including tomorrow night. We chose that one, since my parents and ray would still be in town. We even got to play a short set after the main act of the evening, just to give the people a taste of the next night.
Fast forward to Saturday evening for our show. It was amazing. My parents came and our friends showed incredible support and really made the night awesome. All the regulars were there: Therese, Jim, Joe, Tao, Alicia, Chris, Sandy, Gareth, Bill, Andy, Liz, Nicki, Adam, Mitch, Brian, and Baby Girl... a good, raucous crowd for the evening. We actually drank the bar out of liquor. Literally: we drank all their vodka, tequila, rum, and whiskey. It got so bad that someone brought out the baijiu. They even tricked me into taking a shot, because when you're on stage, you cannot refuse a drink. You just can't.
Tao captured the spirit of the show in a few videos, posted on the Beijing Ultimate blog.
The show ended after midnight and my parents were happy but exhausted. We packed them into a cab and pushed onward through the night. By this point, we were all pretty lit up, including my bro. Ace, ray and i stopped by Salud for a quick drink, before realizing a late night snack would be required to finish the night. We found a quaint little Xin Jiang place to have some chuar and chinese Spaghetti O's (chao pian'er). We were instant celebrities in this already drunk and bustling restaurant. The manager came over and took a picture with us. People tried to get our attention of multiple directions. Ray was hysterical and his senses were probably overloaded. After a short walk and a quick heave in the hutong, he felt much better. a second one out the window during the cab ride home probably helped too.
And that about wraps it up. All things considered, it was an epic vacation and delightful having them visit. Therese and i talked afterwards, about how we didn't really have a "vacation" during the fall holiday because we always had entertaining to do. But, they were such easy going, enjoyable guests that it wasn't stressful at all. And it was really nice to have some free time to enjoy Beijing during the best weather it has to offer.
Mom, Dad, Ray: you are welcome back ANYTIME!