Wednesday, 20th, October, 2010. I was thrilled when Friendly called again and proposed another clutch of crabs for supper. We met at the same restaurant after Sarah and I had had a soak in the hot springs at Mums hotel. I felt soft and relaxed. When friendly arrived with his wife and son we set about the crab’s dissecting, cracking open the creature’s difficult body’s to reveal the goods. Dipping it into sweet and sour tomato sauce which Friendly had made “It took me 3 hours to make” he piped up. His eyes lighting up in an explosion of pride when I complemented his saucier skills. Friendly has an idea that Chinese language requires you to speak from the front of your mouth using your tongue near the lips and that speaking English is all about booming from the diaphragm and opening the mouth a lot. I agree with this and have found with speaking mandarin you must indeed flicker your tongue near the lips. Friendly embodies this idea and it’s similar to talking to a split personality sufferer. One moment you’re looking at this formidable chap speaking serious mandarin, oozing chiefly success, speaking about how his lobster delight caused the Pope to turn Buddhist or something impressive like that. Then he turns to you and begins speaking English, opening his mouth to its fullest extent straining like a spastic cerebral palsy person. Revealing a set of white menacing gnashes, his wide crazy eyes almost obscured by his contorting cheeks. Shifting and morphing his facial tapestry, Maybe saying something like “World war two was worse than world war one” and then he is back, flicked by a switch to his other self. It’s quite a show. For some reason Friendly told his son that I knew magic and I was put on the spot. After my crab carcass had been stroon defeated before me I whipped out the old detaching thumb from behind the hand trick and the little tyke very nearly lost his tiny mind with excitement. He asked me how I did it and when I mystified him with my jazz hands he began throwing his tiny mitts at my face, putting his grubby porkers into all the wrong holes( any hole in the face is the wrong hole for a Childs exploring fingers). I gave in and showed him the way and he shoved off soon after getting what he wanted. One redeeming feature of this small sack of bones is he does generally leave the big people on their own. Only occasionally coming in to scream of kick the walls a bit. Last week Friendly had a black eye and he told me that he had fallen over while he was drunk. The true story wriggled out at the dinner table and he told us it was really because he was very drunk and had got in a fight. That night he invited Sarah and I to meet the people who he had fought with to have an apology party. The other eye biffers had found out that Friendly was a famous chief and they must have thought he was worth getting on the right side of. As we got in a taxi after the meal, his wife and wretch safely packet off home to beddy bys he became a bouncy personality. Now friendly has 3 personas. 1. Important head chief and award winner for excellent abalone 2. Crazy spastic razor teeth face mover and shaker 3. A geezer who had been let off the leash by his wife. He informed us that he also had to go to 3 other parties that evening, the first one we were going to was at “the best ktv in Xinzhuo” he told us as he sprung out of the taxi and swaggered toward the tall flashing lit building “the best” or “number 1” is a saying liberally used and without substance in China so I wasn’t actually expecting it was true. It turned out to be as swish as I had ever seen. We slid up to the 3rd floor in the elevator and came into a psycadelic long corridor. Multi coloured snake lights strobing like no bodies business, Infinity mirrors and I think there where even some furry walls as well. The room we were shown to was as big as our flat and had sofas at one end a stage at the other and a small cinema sized screen in the middle. Friendly’s buddies where almost bouncing off the walls, staggering around drunkardly while 4 or 5 heavily made up prostitutes sat refilling and plying drinks on the men folk. They where air force officials from a nearby village where which had a military air strip. “ Tonight we are VIPs” Friendly shouted at me over the horrendous singing of one of the officers. We all sat down and I was excited to see the table absolutely riddled with booze, Russian vodka, beers, cocktails, brandy and pop corn. I was handed a shot glass and one of the prostitutes filled up my glass with some electric blue stuff and doing the downing rounds with my new acquaintances I did shot after shot. It turned out that there wasn’t even any alcohol in these things, or if there was it was utterly insubstantial. My heart sank as I saw what I was drinking; it was the Chinese version of red bull, the energy drink. I had drunk a pint of the stuff and I could tell that I would not be getting much sleep that night. Sarah and I left an hour later. The military car drove us back home and I thought about how it was all a disappointment. I could have done with some beer of vodka but instead I was given a blue energy drink. My ears where ringing from the loud speakers, I was wired on caffeine or whatever dirty substitute they use in that blue shit. The front gate to the block of flats was just being closed as we ran up the drive. Linda’s brother was shutting the gates and said “hurry up why are you so late?” he was joking and in a good mood, “what are you doing in there?” Sarah asked pointing to the small gate house where some hunched over characters where visible thought dirty windows and plumes of smoke “ ohm we are drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and drinking Bie jiu” he said laughing. I thought about how that would be more my scene rather than the hectic energy drink swigging KTV palace we were at before. As prophesized I didn’t sleep for most of the night and I only managed to calm myself down by having a real shot of strong bie jui which calmed me suitably to read well through the wee hours and then pooping out into the cold stark morning again.