Saturday, September 4, 2010


So about three or so years ago I was the Australian ambassador for Smirnoff no.55. It was a good year of my life. I travelled the country running competitions for the brand, and did training sessions for bartenders in bars that didn't know how to spell 'Vodcar'. Meanwhile Diageo paid my rent.

I ended up getting sent to China to do a series of parties for them in Chengdu. It was my first trip abroad and an experience i will never forget. Mostly for negative reasons i'm afraid. During that time i kept a travel diary, for myself mainly, to reminisce on later. Well, i re-read it today and some of it is pretty funny. I've decided to pull an extract out of it today and post it for any of you that care. This was just a ordinary couple of days in the life of my time in China's fifth biggest city. Enjoy..

Sat 9.12.07. Day 4 1:23pm

Apparently my drunkenness caused a bit of a stir the other night. Jody, the advertising lady was told off for not looking after me and making sure I received adequate care when getting home. She had gone home when I had apparently texted her in the wee hours of morning with a massage that went along the lines of; ‘Jody, I'm drunk and I don’t know how to get home, can you come write my address for me to show taxi man?’ Inevitably I got a lift home with Spikeman. Spikeman, or James, is a New Zealand dude that’s travelling around on this Hummer tour with us who dresses like a Smirnoff transformer and sprays Co2 at the crowd (cool huh!) He’s a pretty cool dude that has been to Chengdu many times and knows his way round the city pretty well. He made a formal complaint to the organisers of the tour and I was politely asked by Jody not to get too drunk at future events. (Booo….).

Last nights event was at a hip hop club called Mix Club. Mix club was a fucking dive and the event blowed. I really don’t think anyone really knows what I'm supposed to be doing. I was told to make Moscow mules for the punters as they walked into the club, then it was my job to walk around to every table in the club and make them a Mule at the table. The problem was the promo girls walking around with me holding the lime (or green lemons as they call them), ginger beer etc weren’t explaining to the crowd what was going on. So people were just sculling the drinks without caring what was in them, and to make matters worse I was stone cold sober. By the end of the night the person running the show told me I had to get drunk every night with the customers as I work a lot better that way, and Jody needs to take better care of me. (Sorry about that Liver..)

On a lighter note a really hot chick tried to pick me up in the club last night. She was quite forward and I thought things were going well until I was dragged away from her by one of the organisers. Probably a good thing, turns out it was a lady-boy prostitute! (I probably still would of..) And oh yeah, out the front of the clubs I'm working at they have this massive sign with all this Chinese writing, then my name in big print! How cool is that!! As well as that when I got a rickshaw home last night we went past another club I must be going to sometime soon, because they had a big sign out the front with my name on it!! I’m freakin’ famous! At least in Chengdu anyway.

Mix Club (Bar review)

This place really sucks. Bartenders wear stupid white vinyl uniforms and are scared of drinking straight spirits. No one would do a lay back of Smirnoff with me. The d├ęcor resembles the set of a lame hip hop video with mirrored walls, red paint peeling off everywhere and a lame ass DJ booth that overlooks a tiny dancefloor. On the night I was there the music changed from R&B, to repetitive electro-house, to late nineties hip hop and finally to a hi nrg trance set. Its like the club got sent a newsletter of what music is cool is Western countries. Unfortunately it arrived 12 years too late.

The whack thing about this place is the bartenders don’t actually make any drinks. Most punters order bottles from their waiter and the waiter goes out the back to a stockroom to fetch the order. When it comes time to pay the customer goes to another counter (somewhat like a cloak room) and pays their bill there. Meaning the job of the bartender is to keep topping up jugs of ice for the waiters, throwing empty plastic flair bottles around, and interacting with the customers sitting at the bar by throwing some sort of dice game with them. Lame. What’s worse is they are not allowed to flair unless it is ‘showtime’ and they are not allowed to take attention away from the hired dancers. What’s even weirder is that if you want a beer you can only buy them in lots of 6 or 12, and when you by them you get them all at once. None are refrigerated as there isn’t even a fridge behind the bar. Lame, lame, lame.

This club may as well of been called ‘The Windy club’, because half of it sucked, whilst the other half blowed! 4 thumbs DOWN!

DRINK: Nothing!

Tue 11.12.07. Day 7(10:21am)

After a pretty uneventful day off on Sunday we started our Smirnoff Hummer tour yesterday. I meet the advertising kids out the front of my hotel at midday and we drove in the Hummer to an open air shopping plaza near the local university. This is when I’m told I am to make up some jugs of Moscow Mules and pour them into shot glasses so the promo girls can give them to people walking past and tell them about the upcoming Smirnoff parties. As well as this I’m supposed to walk with the girls and act all excited and shit, pumping up the people for the upcoming big parties. Basically they want a crazy, westerner to shout Smirnoff in peoples’ faces. After about 20 minutes at one place we move onto the next place, then the next, then the next. All up I’m pimping my Mules to kids in 7 or 8 places over Chengdu. Every day, 6 days a week!! Then at night we go to 6 or 7 bars and do the same, but at night all the bars have a massive poster out the front telling people ‘TIM PHILLIPS, FAMOUS PROFESSIONAL INTERNATIONAL BARTENDER IS COMING’. So they want me to go behind the bar and make the drink for the people in a cool way. I can really see myself getting sick of making fucking Moscow mules! I finished last night at about 12:30 after a 12 and a half hour day. This is going to go on for another 5 weeks. For now I’m ok, but its only been one full day of work. Lets see how I’m holding up in a couple of weeks. To make matters worse I can feel myself getting tired because I haven’t been eating properly. I’m a fairly studious, 5 veg and 2 fruit a day kind-of-guy and I’m just not eating well over here. I haven’t been ‘full’ yet over here as all the food I order from restaurants or street vendors tastes like ass, and the only thing I can trust is Western-style fast food and bowls of noodles from the supermarket. The other day I say a guy grilling these things that looked like Egg and bacon in some sort of batter. I got one and as soon as I bit into the egg I nearly vomited. It was rotten! Talk about making you never want to eat egg again. Even something like corn, you would think would be fairly hard to fuck up? Apparently not. A guy on the street selling cobs of corn on a stick grabbed my attention, so I purchased one off him and could not even finish my first bite. It’s like he thought to himself, ‘lets see, how can I make this corn really bad?. Lets steam it for 21 hours, add no seasoning and somehow give it a plastic-like texture’. On the plus side I’m told there is a shopping centre near that sells some western style food like jam, and milk etc, so I’m gunna’ go check that out when I get a chance. I really miss basic things like butter and cheese, not too mention the fact customs took my vegemite when I came into Honk Kong. Cunts..

However I don’t want to finish this post in a negative way. One of the things I am enjoying over here is how cheap my video games arcade is. The place is called Tom’s World and it’s huge! For 20Y (A$3), I can play 20-25 games! Awesome. I was on the ‘Point Blank’ machine for two hours on my day off. Maybe this week ill invest 5 bucks in learning how to dance on one of those fast paced dancing games. I saw this dude getting his jig-on on one those bad boys. He was like the Asian Michael Flatly! *Note to self* I want to be like Asian Michael Flatly..

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