As previously mentioned Simon’s birthday began with a singsong followed at breakfast by a birthday cupcake (supplied by another member of our tour group) with an improvised toothpick candle.
It seemed that after the beautiful views of Everest, and another long bus journey (with a lunch-time frisbee game), Simon had had all the excitement he wanted for his 29th birthday. You’ll be pleased to know that the others in our group and I did not let it end there, and thus we entered our second Tibetan nightclub.
After Simon’s description of Zhangmu you may appreciate that we were a little skeptical of what sort of nightclub this town would offer up. We were pleasantly surprised, this club was a far cry from the heaving modern establishment in Lhasa. Zhangmu’s nightclub was small, beer was bought by the bottle and shared out in glasses a little larger than a shot, and the walls were oddly decorated with small Christmas trees and cardboard rabbits (not easter bunnies as we first thought but in recognition of the Chinese year of the rabbit).
In many ways the club was reminiscent of a village disco, with most people seated at tables around the club perimeter and a few groups of each gender (not mixing) dancing in the centre. I think they were a bit bemused by our western style of dancing (it may have been a bit energetic). At one point as Simon and I approached the dance floor the music switched from western to Tibetan and we fled back to our seats as the locals began their traditional circle dance (a dance similar to line dancing that slowly rotates in a circle, we failed to establish who the leader was or how they knew when to do what).
The night ended with our entire group jumping around to the ‘Summer of ’69’ before vanishing back to the hotel, leaving some relieved locals to circle dance the night away.