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Outsourced: Your CNY Stories

What you did over CNY. Tales of seedy KTV bars, indoor spitting, farm animals, overly aroused dogs and plenty of projectile vomiting.
Last updated: 2015-11-09

Last week we found ourselves in a fit of post-holiday desperation. So we we begged you, our readers, for CNY stories that we could put up on our site. And, boy, did you all deliver. Never underestimate the power of free concert tickets and food delivery. We'll remember that the next time we run out of story ideas.

So here there are, your stories, well, the ones we liked the most at least. We'll start with our winners first.

Sea Cucumber

by "John Doe"

"I was invited to spend CNY in Suzhou with a friend's family. Picturing a week full of fireworks and dragons, I said yes, thinking it would be cool to see how a real Chinese family celebrated. Instead, I found myself in a seven-day whirlwind of encouraged binge drinking and strange foods.

I built a reputation among the family for being a drinker over the week, and at the last dinner one of the uncles poured a couple ounces of baijiu in my newly emptied wine glass, smiled, clinked his glass against mine, and shouted, "Xin nian kuai le! Gan bei!"

Wanting to impress them all and save face, I chugged the glass, felt my insides on fire and then smiled.

After a few seconds I looked down to see the next course being set down on the table and gave a slightly horrified look, I was then told the dish was sea cucumber and that it was delicious.

I start to laugh, uncontrollably picturing the guys from Jackass doing a scene where they jerked off sea cucumbers. During a literal gut-wrenching laugh I projectile vomited on the entire meal and a few relatives."

Here's to bridging cultural gaps and barfing on people once you cross to the other side, Jon Doe. This one clinched the first prize: Two words: Stones Tickets. Congratulations.

Battle Royale

by "Erin Singleton"

"My sister came to visit me over the New Year holiday and it was her first time in China. Of course I took her to Beijing to climb the "ancient" Great Wall built during the lost era of the 1980's, and all of the other required Beijing hot spots. On the way back to Shanghai in the high-speed train, a little boy behind us was making farm animal noises for a solid hour before my sister decides she can't take it anymore and it is time to fight back with her own animal sounds. (She can do a pretty mean goat impression). For the next two hours, my 22-year-old sister and a 10 year old little kid have an epic farm animal sound Battle Royale, during which the entire car wanted us dead. Through the sea of murderous glances I am pretty sure I saw the train staff looking for a small dog or chicken hidden among the luggage."

This one won the second prize. For you, Erin, we've got 1000rmb worth of Sherpa's vouchers...

Muslim Beer

by "Andie Zhang"

"I was home in Xi’an for CNY, and one night after hitting some good bars with an old friend we decided to have a midnight snack on the Muslim street. Mind you, we locals go to the real Muslim street, not the big touristy one where all the prices are high. So we sat down on our little stools at a street side shao kao place and asked for some beer.

The guy nodded and went into his kitchen and came out with a tin teapot. We were like, dude we ordered beer, and he says, "Yeah, yeah. There's beer in this pot. We Muslims are not allowed to sell alcohol, so we pour beer into teapots for you guys, otherwise you won’t be able to drink beer with your yang rou chuan. We took a look around, and sure enough every table has a teapot on it! I suppose this is what you would call good customer service."

...We got loads of other submissions, by the way. Unfortunately, there were way too many for us to publish here. Nevertheless, you're all winners to us. Give yourself a pat on the back or something. We've included a few stories below that made us laugh, cry or inspired our art director enough to render it as a crude animated line drawing. Enjoy, and have a happy and prosperous Year of the Horse...

Skiing in Bormio

by "Tomasso Cancellara"

"Me and my girlfriend, both leaving in Shanghai, for CNY we were in Italy where I’m from, skiing in Bormio in the Italian Alps.

We were in a cable car with 40+ people including a Chinese couple.

We were just thinking how nice was to be in a place where nobody spit on the floor when the Chinese man loaded harshly as we all know and spitted on the floor of that small space all his bad health.

At that point everyone was so disgusted that we created a kind of circle around the couple isolating them at the very center of it and everyone was insulting them in Italian (yes, with all the typical familiar gestures) saying things like (the most repeatable ones): “here we don’t do this shit, man!” or “go back to your place to do that!”

At this point the man (I would say The Genius) said loudly and ironically to his partner in Chinese (my GF speaks very good mandarin): "Ask them how much is for the mountain? I’ll buy it and change the rules of this place.”

Perfect stereotype of both culture indeed: thanks China for being always so unpredictable."

White KTV Guy

by "Anonymous"

"I am a tall white guy working in an upscale KTV. The staff is all young uneducated migrant guys. They don't know English, and are often gruff and profane. Except the gigolos, they are charming! But I'm only a lowly elevator door greeter. I must bow and say those standard welcoming phrases in Chinese.

My Ivorian recruiter, before every payday, takes a third of my salary for himself. He also says a visit to the local entry/exit bureau branch is no big deal: the KTV bosses got our backs. But the bureau takes our passports and threatens us with deportation and heavy fines.

Chinese New Year's Eve, I see some huge fireworks (KTV spends 30,000 yuan on them), get a lousy 100-kuai hongbao, and stand on the freezing unheated ground floor lobby, where I greet customers. During the day, because I'm broke, I sleep in a looping Line 4 subway car.

After 30 days, I suddenly get my passport returned (i.e. exit/entry bureau is just using me as a pawn to get a bribe from KTV bosses) and find a proper day job. I also find I speak Chinese much better now."

CNY not in Tokyo

by "Charlotte Simpson"

"Like most (all) of the expats in Shanghai, we had been counting down the days, nay minutes, until the Thursday afternoon mass exit from work. This year it was all the more so, as we were heading to the bright lights of Tokyo. Full of naive hope and joy we jumped into a cab to Pudong Airport. A sense of foreboding overwhelmed us as we realized the airport had disappeared — replaced by a smoggy outline. Upon entering the airport we were told all flights from Pudong were cancelled. Bugger.

With our broken Chinglish we realized that we were supposed to fly from Hongqaio instead, so we joined 600 fellow passengers sitting on the floor waiting for further instruction. At this point we resigned ourselves to a New Year in the airport and a week making the most of it in Shanghai. We finally made it to Hongqiao, and against all odds we were put on a flight... to Dalian.
It wasn’t quite Tokyo but as the plane landed at 11.58pm in Dalian, and the entire sky was covered in a mass of fireworks. It rivaled the best displays I’ve ever seen. There was also the promise of a Tokyo-bound flight first thing in the morning, so we settled into the airport hotel with dreams of Sushi."

Siem Reap

by "Kristin Blake"

"Our vacation started with seven hours stuck on the tarmac at Pudong for “bad weather”, i.e. smog. We finally de-boarded the plane only to find that all the staff had left for CNY and no one was able to re-book our flights. The lack of staff also meant another three hours before we would receive our luggage. Dejected, we went home and hoped for better results the following day. We finally arrived in Siem Reap a full 24 hours after we had planned and celebrated with some street noodles. Bad idea. Just after watching the beautiful colors fill the sky at Ankor Wat, my stomach began to churn. I promptly tossed my cookies while wandering around the ancient ruins. I spent the next three days in a haze while my body purged those ill-advised noodles. Cambodia seemed like a really nice country. I just wish I had seen more than toilets during our stay."

Golden Retriever

by "Heatwolves"

"We spent the first three days of CNY at my girlfriend's aunt's house with lots of ayis, shushus, fish, mahjong tablets, and two out of control dogs that ruled the house. One giant Golden Retriever that drank from the fishbowl and one vicious little Teddy that talked shit and threatened everyone except two females he likes. Small dog, massive balls. Lots of testosterone. Kinda like a dog version of that kid from Robocop 2.

The Golden Retriever was much friendlier. Too friendly, actually. He latched onto everyone and everything, and humped like Bobby Brown. Legs, couches, pillows — nothing was off-limits. Young, old, inanimate, whatever - he was down. On the third night, he ran all around the room, thrusting against everything like it was his last damn time. "Tong Tong! Bu Keyi Zheyang!!!" the relatives yelled, then he suddenly jumped onto the couch, laid down and started panting. He had just climaxed, and like many males he quickly passed out."

Ed. Note: For obvious reasons, Heatwolves was automatically disqualified from winning this contest. We just liked his story.