Wednesday, 18 March 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Please note clever use of font colour to make up for limited knowledge of what St. Patrick's day is about (was he an alcoholic Martian/Namek?*).

So as those of you who are from Ireland/aware of the Irish/alcoholics/own a calender will know, yesterday was St. Patrick's day - the number one holiday centred around drinking (closely followed by New Years Eve, Christmas and lonely Valentine's days). True to British form I took this as the perfect excuse to go out drinking on a Tuesday without thinking of the consequences I would be feeling the following morning. Unsurprisingly I am now experiencing those consequences and regretting that decision. Nevertheless, this is the story of an English man celebrating the patron saint of Ireland in Hong Kong.

To tell the truth, I almost didn't go out at all. I got back from work and spent the usual couple of hours lying on the sofa watching TV and eating sandwiches and crisps. Sometimes it's hard to get out of that mood, you really don't want to be bothered doing anything. But, such is my dedication to supporting the economically failing(probably) bar scene, I got up off that sofa, brushed the dorito crumbs off my St. Patrick's day green shirt (or the non-themed green shirt I was actually wearing and had happened to put on through sheer coincidence before learning what day it was) and set off on the lookout for adventure (read: booze). Also American Idol was on. By 11 o'clock I was in Wanchai - one of the major bar areas in Hong Kong.

I knew where I wanted to go first. Delaney's is an Irish pub that's known to just about every westerner who steps foot in Hong Kong. On the top (and for all I know, only) Irish holiday of the year it was sure to be full of many people who spoke my language. The only problem was that I couldn't find the damn place. I walked in 3 huge circles around the entirety of Wanchai before eventually giving up and simply going in to one of the other hundreds of bars there (this may be a little exaggerated). And there was Chinese Elvis. Chinese Elvis was a Chinese man dressed as Elvis (shocking, I know). He seemed to just be sitting in the bar playing his guitar and singing Elvis songs for no reason at all, ignoring the fact that there was already a jukebox playing in there and only the people sitting closest to him could hear him. Fortunately I was one of those people. Unfortunately he couldn't sing. The guy didn't seem to know half the words to any of the songs he was singing, and couldn't pronounce the other half. He had such a thick accent, and the songs were too fast for him to be able to work out how to say - imagine a Chinese man with a heavy accent trying to sing "Jailhouse Rock". Now imagine him trying to sing it while sounding exactly like Elvis Presley. It didn't work. "Jayrehow Wah" just does not sound as good. Still, it was a novelty and fairly amusing for a while. And his dedication to the character was pretty impressive, even if his singing wasn't.

I left that bar after a while to go wandering again, and FINALLY found Delaneys. It was crazy. There were more people spilling out on to the street than there were inside, and there were so many people inside you could barely move. I didn't spend very long in there actually - I don't like places where I have to fight through a crowd so I can wait half an hour to get a beer. Also I had the same conversation with three different groups of people about how great it is to be Irish, why Guiness is "men's beer" and why England suck at Rugby. It surprised me to find out just how many Irish people there actually are in Hong Kong.

After a couple of drinks it was time to move on to the next bar. This one was definitely quieter (I think there were about 4 other groups of people in there) but had a pretty decent jazz band playing. I stayed until the end of the set, but then got bored. Crowds can get annoying, but quiet bars are just dull when you're on your own. The next bar beckoned.

This was one of those bars you always seem to end up going to, even if you're determined to find somewhere new. I've been there a few times, but they have decent bands and just enough people so you don't feel awkward, but not so many that you go thirsty. I stayed in there for the rest of the night out, before feeling the need to leave and collapse on a doorstep somewhere nearby.

That's where the unwritten rule of Tuesday night bar crawls came in to play. Once you've emptied your insides on to some person's doorstep (actually some people's doorstep since everywhere is an apartment block here) it's usually time to go home. One quick cab ride home and I was sound asleep in bed, just a few short hours away from the wonderful feeling that accompanies morning.

And that is my surprisingly long story of a St. Patrick's day night out with myself. 4 bars, 4 and a half hours(ish), several drunken Irishmen, 3 bands, 1 Asian Elvis, many many drinks and 1 disgusting mess that someone else will have had to clean up this morning. All in all, a complete success I feel.

On an unrelated topic, I have just noticed that this blog thing works on American time. Why put the time I'm posting these if it's not going to put the right time? What a ridiculous thing.

*That's a Dragonball Z reference for all those who are just that cool.

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