Last night we went to the local club of Liaocheng. The Ghana boys said that they go there every time there are new people in the international dorm as a party for us. To be honest, I wasn't really sure it was a good idea. I've never been to a club in America, so if it was similar I only had the images from movies to go by and the idea made me nervous.

I started hearing about it yesterday around dinner. A couple people were walking around saying we are all going to the club tonight. I said I might, but only if my room mate was going. A little later when I was in my room two of the Ghana boys and one of the guys from my class came by to remind me and to give me details. They said we were leaving at 9, and that we should not leave all together but in small groups and we will meet outside of one of the buildings. Immediately I started to get sketched out because clearly sneaking around was involved. Any time I have to sneak around, my instincts tell me it's probably not a good idea.

I ask them why we can't go earlier and how late we will be out, and they told me that I should stop worrying and that the party doesn't start until late, so we can't go earlier and we would be back by 1-2 in the morning. They insisted that it was safe and I would be with a big group and that they would protect us and that they had means of getting back in after curfew (10:30). They asked me if I drink, and I said no. They said that is fine because they don't either.

So we went to the club. I debated for a while about whether or not I should go. There was a part of me that was full of anxiety about the idea, and a part of me that was saying "You are in CHINA. When will you get this opportunity ever again? Live a little. You will be fine." Besides, I look up to my room mate a lot and she seemed to think it would be fine and she was going. There were a total of 15 of us.

The taxi ride over there was interesting. There was a lot of traffic and I have never seen a taxi driver drive so crazy. He was racing another one of the taxi drivers there and driving like a maniac to beat him. He also was very excited to have foreigners in his taxi, and turned around at a stop light and took a couple of pictures. He wanted to know where we were from, how old we were, what school we were going to, etc. It sketched me out a bit (I've probably watched too many scary movies), but what was I supposed to do at that point? I was committed.

When we got there, the atmosphere was dim with different colored lights everywhere, loud music, smoke, and people opening alcohol containers sloppily so it sprays everywhere. There was no one dancing. The staff were extremely excited to see us and the Ghana boys introduced us to them. They took us to a larger tall standing table where they promptly brought us a large bottle of whiskey and mixed a drink with it, and a large case of beer - free of charge. Apparently the club likes foreigners presence so much that they always give unlimited free alcohol to us when we come. The Ghana boys made sure I got a bottled Green Tea with them, and everyone else went for it.

At 10, the dancing started. We all ran up onto the small, T-shaped stage and started dancing. It was so much fun, and even though people were watching us, we had the dance floor to ourselves. We were basically dancing for the whole club, because evidently Chinese people don't like to dance (every hour the hostesses would go up and dance for one song, but it was line dancing). When I say we were dancing, really we were jumping up and down and being goofy. For a while we were all in a circle facing the center and we would each go in and do some goofy dance move. It was really, really fun. It was so hot in there though! We would go outside about every hour to cool off.

I am really glad we went in a big group. This would not have been a good idea if we hadn't been in a large group that was looking out for each other with people who knew the territory very well. The bathrooms were unisex. I have never been in a unisex bathroom before, but it was nice because it was quieter in there and cooler so we could just run in there whenever we wanted to say something to one another once our ears were too deaf to hear in the main room. It also made a buddy system for going to the bathroom easier.

Probably the scariest (for lack of a better word) thing was the attention that us females received. We were being stopped randomly and handed opened beers, and sometimes while we were on the dance floor a member of the staff would come and grab our arm and try to escort us off the dance floor. As for being handed opened beers, we were all smart enough to refuse politely and keep walking. But with the being pulled thing, it was rather frightening. They weren't so forceful that I couldn't easily pull away, but it was uncomfortable. It only happened to me once, and when it did I pulled away and one of the Ghana boys who had come to my aid took me to the bathroom and explained that it is a normal occurence. He said it means one of the other customers "likes" me and they wanted me to come sit at their table and drink with them. He told me that they won't make me and when I see one coming over to just come get in the center of the dancing and look really interested in dancing with someone. I followed his advice and it didn't happen again.

Well, now that I have scared all of my readers, just know that I am alive and well and I see it as an experience. Overall, it was a great night. I was one of the few people who was not hung over this morning, and I had a great time dancing. I haven't had the opportunity to really dance in a long time and if felt really good to liven up and have a good time doing so. I am so grateful that I am living it up being in China, and not being afraid to do things. I am also grateful that I am able to do so in what I believe to be a responsible way. I would not have been mature enough to handle these situations if I had done it earlier.

Some of the other students from North Georgia made fools of themselves. We had one guy who is a cadet doing pushups with one of the Ghana boys (who was sober) as a competition over and over thinking he could beat him and failing every time. We had one guy punch a wall because he was trying to catch himself (his hand was bleeding). I'm just glad I'm not any of them. The guys from Ghana really did take care of us and make sure nothing much stupider happened.

When we were on our way back, it was amazing how dead the streets were. It was just before 2 in the morning and there was literally nobody out. For a city with a population of just under 6 million people and streets that are bustling throughout the day from 5AM until at least 9:30pm (that's the latest we have been out on the streets walking around), to see NO ONE on the streets is amazing.

Thanks for listening!