Haidian District

October 31, 2007

From both my work friends and my hotel friends, there were a lot of questions about Halloween that I was not able to answer at a deep enough level. Just the cursory stuff that everyone can easily look up. Of course, what everyone was looking for was a way for me to communicate the “experience” of Halloween. To my mind, this isn’t really possible. I hope my reluctance to share hasn’t been taken as rude… it’s just not easy to express…

To me, most of the “experience” of Halloween is gained from having grown up in a country where you “dress up” as your favorite character, and go door to door asking for candy. There isn’t much more to it for me, once I grew up. The time when scary movies are usually released, the time to buy some candy for any trick-or-treaters that will come by. There’s pumpkin carving (which I really don’t enjoy much). Otherwise, it’s just another day.

While it was never my intention, outside of work, I’ve fallen into the habit of hanging out with people who are not from here. Most of them also stay at my hotel, so I’ll share a ride home, and then we might also catch dinner. Some of them I’ve met through other people who are far more outgoing than I am. The people at the hotel that I know are from many countries; UK (more of these than any other group), Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, India, and Australia. Then there’s me and the other American.

So, some of the people at the hotel suggested having a Halloween party. Having a party on Wednesday night is not a particularly good idea, but it went ahead anyway. There is a room that used to be a bar in the hotel that we used, and the format was pot-luck.

I searched the local grocery for things I recognize, and I decided to make deep fried Chicken Wings. Tobasco sauce is available from the imports section, so I made them Buffalo style. Simple party food. The apartment still smells like fry oil though.

Nobody attempted to dress up or anything. Overall the party was a lot of fun, but I stayed up way too late for a work night.