I broke my bed today. Not for any exciting reason - I moved from a lying to a sitting position too aggressively, and heard a loud crack beneath me. You see, I don't sleep on a mattress, but rather a series of inexpensive wood planks with a bit of padding over the top. It leaves something to be desired in comparison to the typical American bed, but I've really never been bothered by it. I do have an entire spare bedroom with a bed that is not only larger but has a thick (yet surprisingly unyielding) mattress, but I've become somehow fond of the "plank bed." Whatever the reason, I find amusement in these small inconveniences of living here, and I can't say I was too bothered about it.
Though provinces such as Gansu are being left behind by the frenzied development of places like Shanghai and Guangzhou, I feel that Zhangye has moved up in the world just in the year I've been here. There is a new dance club called Babi in the center of town, and I went for the first time last night with Danielle and Stephen. It out-classed any of the previous clubs I've seen here, and was on par with places I've seen in bigger cities in China. As we entered the place, it was hard not to notice the club's scantily-clad, cross-dressing male dancer in the spotlight. Later in the night, a singer came out onto the floor to perform. She had a fierce confidence to her, such that when she approached a man sitting at a front table while singing he practically shrank back in fear. She had such a large frame and deep voice we thought she was another cross-dresser, but ultimately decided it was a legitimate female. When another customer presented her with a bottle of beer, she made a show of lifting it into the air and pouring it all over herself, to the cheers of the crowd. And in a later performance, she came onto the dance floor brandishing a whip. In class this week, we had gone over the words "innocent" and "naive." Zhangye is not as innocent as it appears at first glance.