Twice a year or so, the American Association here in KL holds a carpet auction. Each time, the same company comes in with all their wares, and for a nominal fee, one can eat samosas (yum!), drink wine and bid their hard earned cash on a carpet or two.
M and I arrived late, and the bidding was already underway. We would have arrived earlier except that one way streets aren't marked on KL maps. Fucking maps. Much cursing ensued. So, after finding another parking garage to park in, we made our way over to the hotel.
Before we headed into the auction, we viewed the carpets outside to decide which ones were our favorites. As we were checking out the carpets, a guy came out to the buffet, reached into a chafing dish with his hand, pulled out a handful of spaghetti noodles, tilted his head back and ever so gracefully lowered the noodles into his waiting mouth. I shit you not. Then, a few minutes later, the same guy went over to the open bar, and while he was talking on his phone, he pulled the wine cork out of the bottle with his teeth. Okay, we will just mark your name on that wine bottle, sir, because no one else wants to put their hands on that nasty cork now. This guy ended up buying several rugs, which illustrates the point that money does not buy class. I feel a little bad for ragging on him because he seemed like a nice guy, but fuck! Spaghetti is not a finger good, and the chafing dish is not a trough.
The auction itself was a blast. The auctioneers were entertaining and very knowledgeable (aside from being really amazing salespeople - quite smooth). We were about three rugs into things when the carpet up for bid caught our eye. We ended up bidding on it (and we were total auction virgins) and we ended up with a new carpet! So that sufficiently scared the bejeezus out of us bidding much more that night, as I didn't want our bidding card writing checks that our bank account couldn't cash, so to speak. The bidding part would be oodles of fun if, at the end, you could just tell them, "Never mind, I was just practicing" or something like that. They tend to frown on that, so our bidding card stayed in M's pocket for the most part for the rest of the evening.
Not everyone else though. They were bidding left and right, on almost everything. The auctioneers have obviously learned that Americans + open bar = a very profitable night. As the night wore on, the crowd got more and more vocal, to the point of the auctioneer having to shh the crowd (I think the phrase used was "focus" - ha!) And while one or two Americans in a crowd of foreigners can sometimes appear a bit obnoxious, a whole group of Americans together? Well, that was just lovely. Really. It was the first time in KL that we've been around a large group of Americans. It was nice.
Self restraint at the next auction will prove difficult. I do think, however, that I should at least be able to keep my fingers out of the spaghetti.