Lately we seem to be seeing a lot of He Le, the young and charismatic owner of the bar China Fire. Last Saturday he invited us to invade his bar in the afternoon to cook Western food, and stay all night to hang out and drink. The menu included spaghetti, steak (of sorts), fruit salad, fish, and kebabs. I haven't had pasta (or "Italian noodles" as it is known here) for around 11 months, so I was pretty thrilled. He Le provided the spaghetti and other ingredients that you can't find here, and was suspiciously unwilling to give away his source. I suppose somewhere in the back alleys of Lanzhou there is an illicit trade in Oregano.
China Fire is getting well ready for Christmas, and luckily Stephen was able to provide us with accompanying music on his iPod. It turns out I love Christmas music when it hasn't been shadowing my every step for 8 weeks. We've become fond of He Le; when he has a free moment, he loves to come over and play cards, chat, and encourage drinking games. His girlfriend also seems to be among the friendliest and most approachable girls I've met in Zhangye.
My Chinese teacher Lina was also in attendance, and was responsible for probably my favorite moment of the evening. As is her habit, Danielle was overly excited about something or other during a drinking game, and said "shit!". So Lina (who is an extraordinarly polite young Chinese woman) said "Danny is always saying 'shit'. What does 'shit' mean?" Maybe you had to be there. Altogether I spent around 7 hours at China Fire, and in fact we were there last night, only to be invited again tonight for Danielle's birthday. I think my social life in Zhangye is probably more enjoyable than at college.