Last night, Paul called me from Changsha in the province of Hunan just before 6:00 pm to tell me he was not sure if he would be able to call me again later that night. Why? He was having a baijiu night.
Luckily for me, baijiu is not the name of a beautiful Brazilian woman giving him a foot massage; it is the name of a Chinese distilled liquor made from sorghum or rice or some other grain. You drink it in a shot glass--or reportedly also sometimes in a wine glass--and after the appropriate toasting, "gan bei, gan bei!" ("bottoms up," or literally: "dry cup!") you down the whole thing in your empty stomach.
Drinking baijiu is a normal part of a formal Chinese business meal, the banquet. And going to a formal banquet is a normal part of Paul's working life. So there is a lot of "ganbei, ganbei" and baijiu going on in his life.
Hence, when he calls me about another baijiu night, I don't even look up. I'll just give him a wake-up call tomorrow.
In het nederlands: Het verslag vandaag gaat over baijiu, een witte likeur die hier heel veel gedronken wordt, vooral op de formele dineetjes waar Paul naar toe gaat. (Thuis heb ik dan mijn hongjiu, oftewel rode wijn.) Hier is een leuk artikel in het nederlands over baijiu: Traditionele Chinese likeur – Bai Jiu.