Priceless. Read it on TheBeijinger. Beijing newbie's experience.
"I have been in Beijing for less than 10 hours, and so far things are not going too well. I am writing this post to cleanse myself of last night's "Girl's Bar from Hell", perhaps entertain and also get advice. Just to put my experience into some sort of context: I am an American in my 40s, here for a conference. I work for a university in Japan.
Last night I arrived in Beijing and got checked in to my hotel (Beijing International Hotel) at about 10:30pm. Feeling restless, I headed outside to see the neighborhood. I had not taken 2 steps when a young man approached me asking if I wanted a sexy girl to come up to my room. It sounded like a nice idea, but when I asked how much, and he said 2,000 yuan, I decided to pass. He was persistent, but I finally shook him off. However, I was soon being followed by two other guys, one of whom was driving a 3-wheeled motorized cart of some sort. When the guy with wheels said "how about girl's bar?" I said "OK".
He opened the door to his vehicle, and, as he swerved in and out of traffic, I tried hard to memorize the way back to my hotel. But after 10 minutes I had to give up. "What have I gotten myself into?" I wondered, "And how will I get back?". I had about 1800 yuan in cash on me, however, so I felt relatively safe.
Finally, he pulled up in front of a building with loud music and bright lights. I saw lots of people coming in and out of nearby shops which advertised "massage". "OK," I thought, "I can handle this". I was lead into a kareoke room and about 10 girls followed me in. "pick two" I was told, so I asked them who could speak English the best. I ended up with 2 girls who could more or less understand what I was saying. We started drinking and singing a little kareoke. Soon afterwards a 3rd girl joined us. After about 1 1/2 hours, as the drinks pilled up, I started to feel a bit concerned about money, so I asked what the bill was. This is when it got complicated. The bill for the drinks and the "tip" for the girls were separate. Moreover, I could not see the bill for the drinks until I had first tipped the girls. I wanted to know the total cost, but they kept shaking their heads. "First tip girls then we get bill" they insisted. They wanted 800 yuan each. I told them I didn't have that much, and they finally agreed to take what I had (1700, since I had given my driver 100) and talk to the manager. They came back with a bill for just under 9,000 yuan!
When I made a face, they said I could talk to the manager myself. In came a stocky, pockmarked man who looked as if smiling was very painful for him. I explained that I had given all my money to the girls and, besides, the bill was too high. He offered to reduce it to 7,000, and said he could send his assistant to an ATM machine with me to get the money. I offered 1,000 and we were in a deadlock. The girls became much less animated and sat around on the sofa pouting and smoking.
To make a long story short, I finally talked him down to 2,500, plus a ride home. He acted extremely indignant. I was glad just to be going back to my hotel.
Well, there it is. My girl's bar from hell story. Is this a typical experience for Beijing newbies? On hindsight I realize I never should have gotten into that vehicle without knowing what I was really getting into. I should not have gone out alone with only cash and no knowledge of what I was doing. I can see what I should not have done. But what should I do, say, tonight, if I don't want to get fleeced just for being an ignorant foreigner??"