Wednesday, January 10, 2007
A Quizzer If Ever A Whiz There Was
Quiz nights. Sounds like a stupid activity your college dorm den mother (or father - we have to be politically correct) would think up as a "bonding activity." But here in China, people take their trivia - especially their useless trivia - very seriously. I was talking to my friend Mark who was studying in Beijing this past fall semester but just moved back to the States. Since he was just here, I asked him for advice on some of the cool night spots I should visit. A good number of friends from the last time I was here in Beijing have since moved back to their respective home countries and I thought it would be a good idea to hit up some new circles.

Since Mark, like most Ivy alums, understands the tendency of nerdy people to gravitate toward other equally nerdy people, he made a suggestion. According to him, three or four bars in Chaoyang hold a regular weekly event, innocuously known as "Quiz Night." Though a bit skeptical - this sounded like a fatally boring night of Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary - he insisted I would like it and besides, I had nothing else to do anyway. Isn't that always the excuse?

Most places held their quiz night on Tuesday (I guess since Monday is football recap, Wednesday is Ladies Night, Thursday is drink specials, and the weekend is, well, the weekend). I had already been to Tim's Texas BBQ (actually a really cool place despite the corny-sounding name) the night before to watch the wild card games (or the re-airing of the videotapes of the games, damn thirteen hour time difference...). So instead, I decided to go to the John Bull Pub for the night. I had been there once before, but only for a brief game of foosball (there's actually a foosball tournament there next week - more coverage on that after the event). It was there that I learned about the insanity that is "Quiz Night."

Here's the deal: they bring all of these genius Chinese guys (sorry ladies, but pretty much every dull genius who sits around all day memorizing inane and useless information is male - somehow I think I'm okay with this). Anyway, trivia callers announce the most random of questions. And teams arranged at different tables try desperately to outwit the geniuses. I think I got three correct the whole night - but apparently for a beginner, that's pretty good. Johns Hopkins and Hooked on Phonics worked for me! But people go nuts trying to outsmart the smartest. It was amazing being around other uber-competitives like me. But the most humorous thing: as people got drunker, the "thinking faces" got funnier and more contorted. Try to think back to the last time you were really drunk. I mean, REALLY hammered. Remember exactly the state you were in - the way the room wobbled and spun a little and your feet dragged when you walked. Now imagine trying to simultaneously think of the name of each country bordering the Nile. In order from north to south. As they were called in 2000 BCE. Yeah, even try it sober. I only got three names and I just finished reading about it. But the geniuses - they were on fire. It was one hell of a night. And best of all, I made some new friends - fellow non-geniuses who felt just as stupid for not knowing the answers to completely useless questions that not a single person cares about. Except history majors. Oh, what a sad life they must lead...
posted by Rachel @ 3:47 PM  
THE WILD WILD EAST: Everything you never knew you didn't know about life on the other side.
In China, the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The Chinese, who call this land "home," and the expats who migrate here. My name is Rachel. I am an expat. These are my stories.
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