Friday, June 01, 2007

Rock-n-Roll, Burgers, and Being a Target Market in Beijing

I walked down the street from my hotel to the Beijing Hard Rock Cafe. I was approached on the way by a 35ish looking Chinese woman who wanted to know if I wanted a massage in pretty good English. I guess I looked like a Western businessman with money in his wallet spending a Friday evening alone. (For the record I love my wife and I am a Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher.)

My hotel is in a good part of town believe it or not. Many diplomats and Western executives on international assignment live on the east side of Beijing. I guess that means the woman selling massages was figuring her odds of success were pretty good if she walked up to every Western-looking man walking alone in the area.

When I declined she persisted to tell me she had a "younger girl" nearby and that "she looks good". I kept walking and went inside. I was pleasantly surprised to see there was no wait for a table at about 8:30 pm on a Friday night.

Sitting alone inside the Beijing Hard Rock Cafe under a replica of Billy Idol's Gold Record for his album "Whiplash Smile," I listened to a Chinese rock band (I think called "Tiger") singing American "top 40" type rock oldies in English. They had pretty good voices but very un-Chinese looking frosted hair. After a while, the band took a break and a projector showed several music videos and I found myself singing along to one of my favorite songs as a teenager, Lynard Skynard's "Free Bird." I ate a very respectable bacon cheeseburger and fries in the process. The price of the bacon cheeseburger was a little steep at 86 RMB or about $11.50. With a Diet Coke and chocolate ice cream for dessert to total bill came to 126 RMB or about $16.80.

As I left the Hard Rock Cafe I was approached by a second 30-something Chinese woman who repeated the same "massage-younger girl" script in English. I continued to the hotel and right before I got there, I was approached at the street corner by two young Chinese women together who also asked me if I wanted a massage. As I declined, they tried to push business cards with color pictures of a scantily clad Chinese girl and a phone number to call. "She's a beautiful girl." I guess they get a commission if they refer a paying customer. I quickened my pace to get onto the hotel property and they returned to their street corner.

1 comment:

Taswir said...

Hi Phil,

Your china trips seem to get more interesting everytime you go:)