I survived the banquet. Actually, it wasn't that hard--there was no baijio in site, and hardly a ganbei! was heard. At least not at our table, which was fine with me. There was lots of toasting, but as that generally involves sipping wine instead of pounding grain alcohol, it was a bit easier to deal with. Well, sort of easier to deal with, since we were drinking Chinese wine: either Dynasty wine or Great Wall wine, I'm not quite sure. But since those are the only two types of Chinese wine I have ever seen, I'm pretty sure it was one of those.
Now I am no wine connoisseur and have, in the past, mixed Carlo Rossi with 7-Up during a heated game of Axis & Allies, but I can say with some certainty that Chinese wine is just not that good. Although, to keep everyone from getting the completely wrong impression, I should add that it's not that bad, either. The main problem is that it's very sweet and very tart, more like drinking fermented juice--literally--than wine. Maybe not quite Boone's Farm style sweet, but close to that. And let's face it, there's a reason they don't serve Boone's Strawberry Hill with dinner at your finer restaurants. Or really, at any restaurants. Of course, that didn't stop me from having five or seven glasses, but beggars, choosers, and all that.
Overall, however, the banquet was fun. I mean, really, how can anything that features girls in slinky red dresses dancing around on stage while playing American folk songs on the electric violin be bad? It can't really. At least, I don't think it can, but maybe that's just me …
Now It's a Party