Partying With the Locals in Guangzhou

In China, you will not find that many traditional bars or pubs (like you would find in the US or Europe). Yes, there are a few... but they are typically filled with westerners. This is because people in China generally do not drink alcohol casually. Therefore, there's no reason for them to go hang out at a pub. In my experience, drinking alcohol in China is a group activity... and people drink to get drunk or they prefer to not drink at all. There's not much of a middle ground. Also, when you do take a drink, you need to drink with another person (can't just take a sip of your beer by yourself)... and the drink increments are in the "two dollar" (half) or "four dollar" (full) range. This is why I recommend requesting beer at dinner (not much fun "chugging" wine). The only time you get away with a sip, is if you do a "cheers". There's also a protocol for pouring drinks (hold your cup with two hands if the pourer is your elder, don't pour your own glass)... and it's popular to play weird drinking games that the westerner usually loses.
This all might sound a little complicated, but don't worry... the outcome is always the same: You get drunk.

Anyways, in these photos, you see where some of the real locals go to hang out. I saw large groups dancing in the public square (like an outdoor dance club, but free), people lounging by riverside, street performers doing tricks, families having picnics, teenagers causing trouble... it was cool to check out (and I only got stared at a little bit). Do you think this would be more fun than hanging out at a bar?

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