The Chicken and The Lotus
Oahu Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
We woke up late and lingered around the house. Terumi had mentioned going to Chinatown the day before, and it's always interesting to see what the Chinatown looks like in any given place... because there is always one in any given place. Slowly, as the morning burned away everyone got up and we took turns using the bathroom. It was kind of amazing to think how many people were sharing the same apartment. Dustin and Terumi were in their bedroom, Sophiya and Jungin were in the spare bedroom, and Chris and I were in the living room. That made six of us, and with Dave flying in tomorrow, there would 7 of us all squeezing into this place before the wedding.
Eventually (remarkably) everyone got ready and we all walked down to the garage and piled into one car.
We drove through downtown Honolulu with all its old colloquial administrative buildings and came out into Chinatown. I have to be honest... it looked a lot like the Chinatown in LA. We parked and entered a courtyard with Chinese banners flying overheard and took a table at a little dumpling shop in the corner. Steel and DORSH were already there.
The dumplings came, and I'm sure you, my fellow traveler, know how adventurous eating Chinese dumplings can be. If you aren't the one ordering the food, it's kinda like letting your hand hover above the chocolate box and grabbing one at random when you eat... You're never sure what you're biting into even after someone tells you that it's chicken. I mean, that's funny, it didn't really taste like chicken, did it? Well, I enjoyed a few and stomached the rest.
The Korean girls ordered something and out came this little bowl of rice with a perfectly gooey orange chicken foot resting on it.
I mean, you have to try it.
Try everything once.
So I made Jungin take a bite just to prove that it wasn't a radioactive chicken foot, because there are some things even I won't try, and a radioactive chicken foot is one of them.
There it sat. A couple inches from my mouth. Right there. Just, looking at me. A perfectly good foot. I mean, it could've been thrown away like a normal inedible part, but no, not this foot. Here it was. Waiting. I looked around the table. All eyes were on me. I managed a smile. I opened my mouth and clamped two teeth onto a little solitary toe. Oh god... a toe. My tongue hid as far at the bottom of my mouth as it would go. I pulled.
"MMMMMMMM!" I exlcaimed, wiping the tear away. I smiled and made a big deal of swallowing. "That was..." and I made an OK sign to the rest of the table with my hand cause I kinda gagged right then.
"...totally fucking unnecessary," I whispered into Steel's ear.
Christian looked at me and seized the chicken foot from in front of me.
By this time, Jungin had pushed another bowl in front of me. It looked like a little bowl of fat and broken bones swimming in grease. I asked Terumi what it was and she said it was goat tail. Goat tail! "Boy, does nothing go to waste in China?" I asked aloud. I have a tendancy of letting my ignorance get the better of me when confronted with strange foods. I sighed and dug through the bowl until I found what looked like an "intact" section of tail. I brought it to my mouth and sucked out the marrow.
Somehow the question came up of what year were we in according to the Chinese calendar. Some people said it was the year of the dragon, someone suggested the year of the horse. But I'm the year of the horse and they run on a cycle of 12 years, so I knew it wasn't the horse. I called over our waitress, this middle aged Chinese lady, and asked her, but she just smiled at me. I tried several ways to explain to her what we were asking, but she obviously didn't understand English. I'm a teacher and I thought maybe I could make her understand by pointing to my watch, making a circle with my fingers and then neighing like a horse and then pointing to me. She looked at me and I neighed again. Suddenly a look of realization came into her eyes and she reply with a well-practiced, "Sorry we don't have that.
We were about finished by then and I was thoroughly queased out anyway and was craving a cigarette. I held out though. We lingered about in the sun talking. There were signs everywhere in the plaza that said no smoking, but DORSH in typical DORSH fashion lit up right next to one. When I pointed the sign out to him, he let out a loud "HUH?" and got distracted by something else immediately. I wandered off with Sophiya and Chris through a gift shop and we saw t-shirts that said Year of the Rat. So... it was the year of the rat. What the heck do rats sound like? We got bored of Chinatown, said goodbye to Steel and DORSH and went back to the apartment, grabbing some amazing sunset shots along the way.
This was the only night (Wednesday) that all of us were going to have the chance to go out together. Thursday night was the bachelor party and Friday night was the night before the wedding. The Korean girls wanted to go clubbing and Chris and I really didn't care, so Dustin and Terumi threw out some ideas. Dustin had a friend who was DJing at club down Kalakaua St. called Lotus. "That's where all the Japanese girls go," he said and winked at us. "あ、日本人の女が大好きだ!" I said and Chris shrugged his shoulders. The girls liked the name.
I borrowed a collared shirt from Dustin. We got ready pretty quick but the girls took forever. I raided Dustin's freezer and found a bottle of vodka.
We all left together and walked down Kalakaua Street. Hot girls in lingerie walked up and down the street trying to feed their Ice habits. We came to Lotus and loitered outside, waiting for Steel, DORSH and Blake to meet us. While we were waiting, one of Terumi's Japanese friends met us.
It was still pretty empty inside, random people gathered in a random corners, hovering near the dancefloor but too embarrassed to start dancing until the place filled up a little more. The DJ was playing some foo-foo house. We got a round of drinks and took over the couch area with a big group. Chris bought a round of shots for everyone and we toasted to Dustin and Terumi. A few more drinks and we were feeling pretty cozy. I started chatting up Jungin, the younger Korean sister. She spoke very little English and no Japanese, so it was kinda like communicating with my Japanese students way back in the day.
The music picked up a little and I dragged the girls out to the dance floor, one by one. Bring the girls and the guys follow. Dustin mentioned earlier that Steel was quite a dancer and could pop with the best of them, so I went and found Steel and encouraged him to show his stuff. He busted out a little robot action and we all cheered. I pulled the Korean girls and Terumi up onto the small stage on the dance floor and before we knew it the whole dance floor was packed and jumping.
The night was suddenly fun and wild and the alcohol was flowing.
We found ourselves downstairs. I looked at my watch.
We didn't get far though. The bouncer wouldn't let Sophiya in through the door because she was too drunk. I carried her down the stairs and we walked across the street to another bar that looked to be a total cockfest. It had a big banner above the door that said WELCOME PROBOWLERS. Once again, Rina arranged a discount at the door (only for the girls this time) and once again Steel went in first and paid for everyone. Inside, it was exactly what I expected to find. Blaring hip-hop and a bunch of attitude. Drinks were only a buck though and the dancefloor was made up of multicolored light squares just like the old disco floors of yore.
If we weren't trashed before, we certainly got trashed now. We formed a circle on the dancefloor to protect the women in our group from the you-know-whos in the bar.
The next question was the age old 4am question when all of the clubs are closed and there are no more afterhours to go to: Food or home? We weren't yet ready to go home yet so we chose food. But no one could decide on where to go. That was unfortunate looking back, because before we knew what was happening, Rina and Terumi had grabbed a couple of taxis. Confused, we piled in and were driven across town to a Korean restaurant.
We went inside and the girls had grabbed an entire room to ourselves, and sat down at a long table with grills in the middle. I didn't want anything when the waitress came, but Rina must've ordered for everyone because a feast of weird foods came out and filled the table. Sophiya sat next to me and insisted on feeding me. I was nauseous and placated her with small nibbles here and there, but the truth was I could barely stomach the rice, let alone raw beef and kimchi. Sophiya looked at me and smiled.
Finally the check came out. $120... Oh my god. I knew that I was expected to split it even though I maybe ate about 30 cents worth of food. But it was silly arguing about it because we were all there on Dustin and Terumi's behalf and it would've been poor form not to pitch in.
The time had come to go home. The girls, still in high heels, wanted to take a taxi but there were none around at that time in the morning. So we started walking in the hopes of finding one along the way. I had to practically carry Sophiya down the street because she kept stumbling. Eventually we found a taxi but not all of us could fit. I offered to walk and Chris joined me. As we walked home, there was a little animosity coming from Chris, but I was too tired to deal with it. The walk was nice though.
We got in and everyone was pretty much in bed. Except for Sophiya, who came out in her underwear and was talking loudly on her phone, walking around the living room and finally sat down on my bed on the floor.