7 Days Before Christmas 2009
After our busy Christmas 2008, I expected 2009 to be a far quieter affair, and for several days preceding this was so. I was busy working on several diverse projects, whilst Siu Ying carried on as usual – visiting friends, going shopping, going to the early morning wet market, cooking and cleaning house etc.
days before Christmas we were quite busy both for work and socially. The
Thursday preceding, Siu Ying had planned to go to Foshan hospital, but I asked
her to stay at home for a day because my good friend Jim was due to stay
overnight. That was actually a blast and we shared a very chilled time talking
about anything and everything, whilst watching the sun set from the deck of the
floating restaurant. On Friday we had an engagement of a wedding reception,
something Jim had tried to avoid before, but there was no way out of this one!
We were actually given one whole table for ourselves, and invited friends such
as Uncle Sam, Paul Yuan, Norbert and Nancy, Wong, and Anne. With the addition
of ourselves and Jim, this made for a very relaxed and entertaining mix of
people. Jim has lived in
I have previously described a full Chinese Wedding, but allow me to spend a few moments recounting this reception as an aside for anyone who is interested:
was one of the top restaurants in
One of the
Wedding Party then shows us to our seats quite near the front, and next to the
table where my good friend Zhao San is sitting with his Shipyard cohorts, and a
foreigner who I later learn is from
There is a long wait as people arrive, and then arrive late. The welcome party remains outside to greet people, and they are probably there for several hours in total. Inside a large screen shows the official wedding pictures album, accompanied by tasteful music. This is situated next to the stage, where there are two large round tables reserved, one for each of the Bride and Groom’s immediate family and close friends.
Meanwhile back at our table we are well into the beers, with glasses of rice wine and red wine reserved for later toasts. There are nibbles on the Lazy Susan, which are replaced as required. We have now got the staff trained re bringing the beers, and one keeps an eye on our progress, bringing a new and cold bottle just before the last one is finished. Excellent service and she even pours the beers for all the drinkers at the table. The others are drinking Chinese Tea, or soft drinks like coke, orange, or hot water.
At 7 pm the main doors are closed, and a hush descends upon proceedings. Lights are dimmed and the music changes to The Wedding March. Lights, Camera, Action! The doors are flung open and in walk the happy couple to an extremely warm welcome. Upon reaching the stage they then have several things to do. First they offer a toast to the, and then fill a tiered deck of wine glasses in the manner made famous by George Best in the 60’s. Then they drink a glass of Champagne with crossed, interlinked arms, as meanwhile the female MC conducts proceedings with great gusto and competence. There are some short speeches by Groom and Father, and then they then turn their attention to the three tier wedding cake, and ceremoniously cut it in true western style.
Siu Ying points out the amount of gold the Bride is wearing – half a dozen bangles and rings, necklaces, etc. Chinese gold is like Indian gold in colour = very light and sparkling, presumably from the inset diamonds. This is also a part of her Dowry, and an integral part of Chinese marriage customs. It is then I realise she has changed out of the white western style wedding gown she greeted us in, into the traditional slim fitting red silk dress with gold thread embroidery. She has also added a tiara and changed earrings. Finally all the traditional functions are completed, and they can sit down to share their wedding supper with us guests.
served immediately by a very well organised troop of waiters and waitresses. I
would estimate that each table has three dedicated staff + Supervisors and
specialists such as drinks servers – hello
We have reached the point where dishes are being piled high on the large Lazy Susan, when the Groom and his party visit our table for toasts. Down with one rice wine, and then certain members of the group offer individual toasts to likely suspects. We set about the food again; whilst the Groom visits every table in the room, taking at least one glass of rice wine each time – and I seem to remember counting 32 tables! Ten minutes later the Bride visits with her entourage. She is offering toasts also, but this time of exclusive and beneficial herbal tea/medicine. There are rosehips and other good things in it, and it is a very pleasant and welcome contrast. She is radiant!
quieten down a little, and I am sure the Bride and Groom had very little time
for eating themselves. They will soon leave for a private gathering, whilst
leaving the food and bar open for any stragglers who feel in the mood for
further indulgence. With their departure we also begin to wrap things up, as do
most other tables. On the way out we see a couple of groups assembling for
further ‘Toasting’, and they entreat us to participate. I have done so on
previous occasions, but this time I am mellow with great friends, and a most
enjoyable evening. We decline their invitations, and head out for the next phase
of our lives. We go our separate ways in the car park, with Nancy and Norbert
heading back to
this point we had not really decided where we would be spending the night.
However, with my other very good friend Dave just arrived in Foshan from
I call Dave to let him know we have arrived, and he is up for a pint, so we meet 10 minutes later and pop round the corner to one of our favourite street bars. Siu Ying does not join us on this occasion, as I am sure that both she and we know boys’ drinking is not really her cup of tea! Despite being jetlagged, Dave is on form and we pass a very pleasant couple of hours. However he leaves around midnight as he has a very important meeting in the morning, and his main reason for flying over. We wish him well and vaguely arrange to meet sometime tomorrow evening. Jim and I chill a little longer and have given up trying to order spare ribs: as first they brought cold cucumber in chillie sauce, and the second time bread crumbed ducks bills. The staff don’t actually speak any Cantonese, even though they have lived and worked in Foshan for many years. Neither do they speak main-stream Mandarin, as they have a very heavy accent and decide to retain their native language, rather than speak a language their customers can comprehend! We chill and chew the cud until around 4am, when it is time to find some boy food. The Uighur chuck-out is open of course, and as we pass I ask Jim if he fancies a ‘Chinese Kebab Burger thingymagig?’ He is game, and we order two. These are basically part leavened (Day version) or unleavened (night version) five inch circles of bread, which are sliced to accommodate some minced meat that tastes remarkably like minced lamb with chillie sauce. Bull’s eye! We order two more and head back to the hotel, which is 1-minute away. Damn me, but at 4AM, and at Y5 per go, these things are totally excellent! Reaching the hotel, a dogsbody takes us to our rooms and opens the doors for us – which means that Siu Ying is not woken and will be very pleased with me I think : -)
Uh-Oh! Apparently I have woken her somehow and she is not pleased to see me. She goes to the toilet, something she has unnaturally been doing a lot recently? Returning to bed she embraces me and we fall asleep in each others arms. Not sure what that was all about then?
we surface around 10 AM and vaguely wonder what today has to offer. Paul Yuan
is calling my mobile phone to say he is waiting for us at KFC = 50 yards
away. Gathering our shit and hangovers
together we meet Paul, with me picking up a KFC on the way. I also hit the Bank
of China, which tells me to refer to my branch. I try a second time and it
gives me some money. You have no idea how stupid withdrawing funds using an
international Visa card in
Paul is a
stalwart, and takes us ad-hoc to
as I have a friends and business lunch planned with Eason, primarily to look at
developing the two islands plus mainland bund of 20, 00 Mu (3, 295 acres). We
This is not really Siu Ying’s thing, but there is stuff here she likes to eat. Paul and Eason have no problems, whilst Jim ponders the multitude of Steaks on offer. Without looking at the menu I already know to order the Pork steak with black pepper sauce, chips and possibly a side plate of broccoli in garlic. Beef steaks in this type of restaurant in China tend to be made from stewing steak at best, so I chat to Jim about options, and three of us (Eason as well) end up ordering the same dish. Very wise! Jim is up for beers already, but I linger over mine a tad, and am just starting to get the taste again when it is time to depart.
join us for dinner this evening + club after, as meanwhile Paul takes us to
investigate the ‘
Anyways; this is basically a trader’s street, and not what Jim was looking for. He wanted to see artistes turning wheels with clay aboard, and discuss the finer points of Porcelain and glazes. I am pretty sure this does exist hereabouts, but without local knowledge we could wander the nearby alleyways for years and not find our goal.
Street finishes and we walk out onto a broad promenade that features a mystical
lake with Traditional Chinese treasures of design at every turn. One feature is
quite incongruous, and features a 100 yards long wall composed of toilets,
complete with waterfall overflowing every one. This feature is about 30 feet
high and totally burlesque, augmented by a ceramic structure 15 feet high by
30’ wide, which resembles a pair of shocking pink breasts. Whoaaa! Jim and I
pass some ‘Boys’ topical comments, whilst Siu Ying looks skywards for
divinitive assistance. She is also embarrassed by this work, which is very
unusual for conservative
We then take up loitering for a while, and Jim notices some fish in the lake. I notice why I know this place, as my friend Z-Ray’s old office is nearby. We meander back to the main thoroughfare and catch a taxi back to the hotel. We have now moved to the hotel Dave is using, which is of a far higher standard. Booking in we soon find our rooms and then head out to visit a nearby glass showroom I know well. I hope this will intrigue Jim, which it does. We also view the upstairs showroom, which the new girl wonders I know about. Jim is interested in seeing some manufacturing or even glass blowing, but it appears these pieces are all made elsewhere and only showcased here. Disappointing, but very interesting all the same; so we adjourn to our hotel. We meet Dave and Candy, and they are just headed for the glass place we just left. Durrrh! We consider joining them or having a quick nap … but basically we are under orders to secure a good table at’ The Goose Restaurant’ within 30 minutes, and drink some beers. Yessir!
We get to the Goose Restaurant just after 5PM, and are informed that all the large tables are already booked in advance. Ok. So we get an ordinary table for eight people, with a possible eleven coming tonight. We order ice-cold beers and wait. And wait, drinking even more beers in the process. I do not expect Dave and Candy for a while, as they have technical business things to discuss in detail. Time passes, and then we are joined by Eason (Who has a pass for this evening from his wife!). Shortly after; Carrie and her husband Ivan arrive, closely followed by Dave and Candy.
This eatery specialises in ‘Shunde style’ Cantonese cooking, and after choosing dishes, a boy arrives with burning hot coals to add to the central divide furnace thingymagig. Soon a very large wok containing our main meal is placed atop, followed by sundry dishes. We later discover this is Goose, and there are two woks full of this bird, one being added after we think the first one has been eaten.
Suitably stuffed, we head for the Music Bar, except there is a quorum suggesting we go to a new music bar nearby. OK. Well, this turns out to be at the other end of the earth, and after 40 minutes driving we arrive at somewhere trendy, but a tad ‘odd’? Dave goes to the toilet, whilst Jim and I examine pieces of modern art made out of old American engine parts. He even recognises some of them … saying this is the engine block from a 1957 Chevy, I (Just for the hell of it) state emphatically that this clutch must be from a Dodge Charger, and similar – and we laugh at our own stupidity.
Dave returns and asks us what is wrong with this place. We don’t have any suggestions until he asks us where are the women?
Looking around we see only men. Opps! This is a gay bar. Well done Dave! We
hastily retreat our steps and head back to Foshan. Dave and I really enjoy what
we call The Music Bar, which has live music played by people we know. It is not
excellent, but can be very good at times, and also offers a great night for
those seeking entertainment, and not critical musical acclaim. It was better
when they had the Filipino girl singer of course, but then
We get ‘Shanghaied’ (A word Chinese people don’t know of and one which is very difficult to explain to them, quickly), and end up going to the Musical Fountain instead. This is more of a show club and they have some exceedingly good acts in the line-up + some missable ones. We order crates of beers, only to be stopped by Siu Ying, who then calls the manager? It seems she knows either this place or higher management very well, so instead of 24 beers for Y600, we get 36 beers for Y500 + free food nibbles. Never underestimate your wife!
We play the stupid dice game for a while, and drink and eat etc. The show starts and we all actually start watching it. I only notice this as by glancing around I see we are all watching the stage, and not playing Chinese dice. By this point another good Chinese friend Bill has joined our party + Fiona is coming also. I need a leak, so head for the toilet. Inside is the guy who looks after you for (Hopefully) a tip. Obviously I become his main target immediately, so whilst doing my business at the urinal, he is giving me a shoulder and back massage, and applying various hot towels to my neck. Now: If this was not an old man, but maybe a 20-something girl; and if I was not actually trying to attend to an urgent and serious call of nature at the time … this would probably have been extremely enjoyable. I leave him a 2 RMB tip in the hopes he will not try this again – which he doesn’t!
to the Show I catch the end of a great acrobatics set, and then we continue to
watch the good bits, play dice during the other bits. Fiona arrives and it is
too loud to have a sensible conversation. We nip outside for 20 minutes and
catch up – which is not quite long enough, but we cover the basics and renew
old friendship. It appears that Fiona was actually working just across the road
= 30 yards away, when she got the call from Eason to go to the Gay Bar. Having
almost reached the
Returning inside we rejoin the festivities and enjoy the show. It is actually quite good. We also manage to get through all the beers before midnight, whereupon Fiona leaves us and we adjourn to 007 Club for more of similar - but more club style. Bill and Eason actually designed this club’s interior several years ago, and were + are still very well known and respected patrons. We are shown directly to a very nice table, without paying stupid money for it; and order another 24 beers. Bill lays 100 RMB out, so we have no shortage of pretty girls at our table, and food is flowing as quickly as the beers. This is just for fun and to make a Party for the night, although one of the latter girls turns out to be a Witch at dice! Now regular readers of this column may know that these Party Girls are usually lethal when playing Chinese dice one-on-one. This girl is lethal with up to eight people, including other Party Girls and Management! I give her great respect and soon follow Jim’s lead by opting for chatting instead of playing. We do not need to get wrecked tonight, as there is more to do tomorrow. However, there is a principle at stake here, and I rejoin some while later for a laugh – in the knowledge I can really read the way Eason plays the game (We have done this for many years), and I also know more or less what Dave and Bill will call. Therefore, and without a spoken word between us boys, we sort of gang up on this good female player, and level the odds quite quickly. By 2 AM the main entertainment is showcasing to finale and wind down, so junior management descend on our table to wipe up the beers left by egging us on to play them at dice, get slightly wrecked at our expense, and try to persuade us to order more. This is going nowhere of course as we know what they are trying to do, although one of our party is suitably entertained in the process…
That was a great night out, and we are driven back to the new hotel – the one Dave is staying in. Dave retires as he has work to do tomorrow, and Siu Ying does likewise – telling me not to wake her when I eventually arrive back, but to get a boy to let me into our hotel room. Yessir! I must remember this I think?
Jim and I head out for a nightcap at a local street bar, well – it is only just after 2 AM after all! We chill and drink beers plus do ‘Boys stuff’. We talk about the option to meet Vivi tomorrow at midday, and plan it so. By 4 AM we have had enough and beds are calling us, so we head back to the hotel, only to stop for a couple of Chinese burgers each at the Muslim nosh place. This time I get them straight-off with chillie sauce = wicked! Back at the hotel and we arrive at the Fifth Floor, and standing outside my door I somehow remember not to knock for entrance, but to ask somebody to let me in – thus not disturbing my wife. To knock would be so very easy for me. But I have an order from my wife. My addled brain goes into shutdown mode whilst I try and work this one out. Jim is laughing his head-off, and retires to the room next door, leaving me stupoured outside my room looking for guidance from heaven or whatever…
I actually go down and get security to let me in, and this takes about 1 minute. I later learn that Jim came out looking for me 3 minutes later, only to discover I had disappeared. Hahaha! The next morning I surface just before Siu Ying does, and perceiving motion and a new day, she is amazed to find me in the hotel room and in bed with her. But of course, what did you expect. Yessir! It is around about 12.30 by now, and SY is not getting up yet. OK. I sort of manage to tag Jim and Dave, and we raid the only working International Visa machine in Foshan City en route, and then head for Martino’s – basically because it is our only nearest and easiest option for pretty damned good food. We all order the same, which is Baked Shepherd’s Pie, and Poutine Quebecois (Chips in gravy and cheese sauce). Boy food! Jim and I stumble through a couple of beers before Dave heads off for work commitments. Jim and I have another beer + one free on the house from Bill the owner. After which we conclude that ‘Today’ should not be happening yet, and we return to the hotel for a nap.
Opps! We forgot to go for the job interview with Vivi at midday – as we were still asleep then. Not good!
In the meantime, Siu Ying has surfaced and called to say she was going shopping in the city centre. Great, that’s one less thing to worry about then! Jim and I do make it back to the hotel in good time, and he goes to check his email, whilst I head for a well deserved nap. Nope! I almost get under the influence of sleep, when Dave knocks my door, and we spend a couple of hours altering his website (Which I write and host). Then Eason calls and we are being picked up at 5.30, or 6pm; by Eason, or Bill = whomever arrives first I guess? Dave has some work to quickly finish with Candy, so I leave them too it and knock Jim’s door, as our three rooms are all in a row. It appears he was just getting to sleep, so I make it worse for him by bouncing around enthusiastically and tell him that we are leaving in about 10 minutes. I go down to reception to wait for the team and Siu Ying rocks up. She is burdened down with shopping, which looks a tad expensive. Ouch! She sets off on a mission to be ready for going our in 5-minutes, whilst I take a comfy seat. Candy appears soon after, then Dave, Siu Ying appears, then Jim, then Candy departs, and then Eason arrives outside. We recognise his car well and all pile in.
I had hoped to show Jim The Little Sheep restaurant, which is a cracking cook-in-the-pot style of thingymagig; but the others may have a different plan and it turns out we are headed to a restaurant in Namhoi (Nan Hai). This may all be well and good, but we are definitely headed in the wrong direction according to my internal map of a city I know very well. All is revealed when we pull into Eason’s ‘Garden’ (Condominium). I was last here a few months ago and at that point he was still installing fixtures and fittings. The place has come on dramatically, as you would expect from someone who is a very talented interior designer. We marvel at many of his creations and design concepts, whilst being very entertained for almost an hour. Fantastic! Bill calls to say he will meet us at the restaurant, which is very near his home in about 20 minutes.
We leave and later pass Eason’s present apartment en route to the other side of town. Eason says we are headed for the car showrooms area, and turning onto a freeway I know well, I suddenly know we will be going to the Artists restaurant – where I had planned to take Jim for lunch tomorrow. Then it gets a tad bizarre, as Eason circles the block with me directing him how to reach the restaurant. We park nearby and enter the restaurant. I show Jim around the art sections, which has two showrooms. I am a little disappointed as this very famous artist is not around tonight. I had hoped to get entrance to his studio which backs onto the rear of the eating area, which in itself is very ambient and well laid out. However, Bill arrives and we are soon escorted to the chosen room.
The main reception area is flanked by small art studios and showrooms. Much of the work here is made from massive stones or tree trunks, but very tastefully done. This gives way to a main courtyard bedecked with Chinese lanterns and tables set to a lovely pattern. There is also a tastefully set barbeque to the side, in its own Chinese gazebo. This area is very harmonious, yet allows glimpses of more surrounding. There are large rooms to the left, small private rooms in front, and VIP rooms complete with large balcony overlooking fish ponds to the right. Bill has booked us VIP tonight, and so we enter a lovely room which is furnished in traditional and rural Chinese style, but high class.
Being seated, a Manageress conducts initial proceedings, before leaving us in the personal hands of one Supervisor and two waiting staff. These three people attend to our every need, and never leave us unattended throughout the meal. The Manageress also pops back every so often to check everything is perfect for our dining experience. Top Hole!
Eason and Bill begin the ordering process, whilst I indicate I quite fancy the crabs in curry sauce, which are excellent! Then Siu Ying takes over ordering, which has become her speciality for any group of dinners we seem to be with. I know this will take ages, so catch the eye of a likely lad and order some cold beers. He has a slightly amazed look on his face as I order specific types of beer in perfect local Cantonese, but he understands me explicitly and departing without a single question, soon returns with the chosen drinks. By this time both Jim and I are up for a few bevies, as Dave will be also. Eason and Bill are restrained as they have busy workloads tomorrow morning + Eason is driving. By the time we have toasted, the food begins to arrive: Tiger Prawns, beef chops, raw jellyfish, some gourd thing that tastes better than pumpkin, pork in black bean sauce, abalone, possibly the best Goose I have ever tasted, a platter of chicken, fish presented in sexy scallops – a bit like the English serve butter, and various Chinese cabbagey things + rice for those who want it. Those not into rice can choose the hand-made noodles instead, which are excellent.
There is enough food on the table to feed a marching army at the end of a long hike. We do it justice, and Dave is very impressed that a lot of the food, although Chinese in presentation, actually has a lot of meat to offer immediately – we all hate this small meat and mega bones served in bite sized pieces thingymagig that is so prevalent hereabouts. Jim explains that jellyfish is basically tasteless, and so takes on the flavour of anything it is served with, in this case, very hot chillie! Dave gets into the fish, as there are no bones! I love the goose in crispy skin, again a rarity, and eat loads of meat. My wife’s Mother actually cooks this dish a lot longer and far slower, so it is served medium rare. I will give this Goose second place in her culinary honour, but only just = Totally Delicious!
Dave, Eason and Bill then form a clique on the balcony, whilst we continue to nibble and toast inside. Later the lads return to table and start arguing over who will pay the bill. Dave is set upon winning this battle, and as I paid for lunch I leave them too it. I take Jim for an informal tour as this most friendly of disputes unravels. We go to look at some huge pieces of art in the courtyard, and are immediately surrounded by staff wanting to help us. It then dawns on me they are not aware we have just finished eating here in the VIP room, so my Cantonese is put to the test, and again appears to work fine. Uh-Oh! Perhaps I am finally getting the hang of this most fuckwitted language. Jim is impressed, as he speaks Mandarin and hasn’t a clue what the staff and I are talking about. The he gets one over me by chatting to them in Mandarin, which leaves me cold. It then dawns on me how odd this must be for the waiting staff; as they have two foreigner who are obviously good friends. One speaks the local dialect of Cantonese well, whilst the other speaks very good Mandarin. Subsequently we catch them out changing Chinese languages depending upon which one of us they wish to address. I think what really throws them most is the fact that although we are both speaking pretty good Chinese language, but neither of us understands the others Chinese. Bizarre! Following our cultural exchanges and looking at some sculptures, we head back to reception, and later outside, whereupon we are finally reunited with the others. Dave won the argument about who pays by the way.
the car, somebody asks me if the tree we are passing grows in
Bill lives on the 8th floor, which is premium and a Chinese ‘very lucky number’. His gaff is very nice and well laid out – as you would expect really as he is also an interior designer. There are a myriad of small features that work so well, and we relax. Bill then displays his sound and video system for an hour or so – which is excellent. I get them to play Shakira live in Spanish, in super HD Dolby (or whatever the latest marketing gimmick is actually called?). It’s great. Jim and I end up discussing speakers and speaker technology, before setting about headphones and db, sine waves, etc = some Pratt of a Doctor once stated with support from clinical tests, that the human ear can only hear 20-20 (20 to 20, 000 hz). This is incorrect, and excludes other medium such as the body and its bones. I prefer at least: headphones that deliver 10 to 40, 000; and Jim agreed with me. Wow! We chat about speakers and headphones for ages, and then I go for a wass (Apparently ‘a wizz’ in American English). Adjourning, I stand there attending to nature and enjoying Bill’s excellent facilities, and I become plagued by a momentary doubt – I may have a dose of the runs, and this is a Chinese trap! Hey-Ho! Off go my jeans immediately, and I swap from one bodily outlet to another with great expertise. Ahhh! This was a steam train with no brakes! I am perplexed, and can’t identify anything eaten or drunk to cause this sudden onslaught, except to add that as suddenly as it appeared, it vanished again. What was that all about then?
Returning to the living room, and teaching Jim that the word ‘settee’ means ‘sofa or couch’; our visit winds up and we head off the ‘The Music Bar’. Shakira is still strutting her stuff on the TV; which Dave finds amazing - as it is a 40 inch flat screen with letters after it. I was more taken with Shakira actually, but then he is younger than I. I am also very impressed that Shakira is not a flat 40 inches or so! Although whoever is in charge of her makeup wants shooting, as she seems to be into ‘the natural look’ in this video, which may also mean hairy legs and armpits! Sacre Blue! Siu Ying finds this very funny, which may even be a tad more bizarre!
Eventually the boys finish extolling the virtues of a flat 40 inches, having also spent a lot of time looking from the side angle; we head for the lift and car park. I tell Eason to drop us off and we will get a taxi, as he must be very near his home – and he is only dropping us off tonight, not seeing the show. A no win situation and he drives a-ways up this straight road, eventually depositing us outside the Music Bar. Damn me! I never knew this road actually linked the music bar and the restaurant directly! Filed for later use.
Band, which is basically the Bass player and Lead, have come on great over the
years, and they have my greatest musical admiration for actually going out on
stage every night and doing it! Tonight there is no Filipino singer of course
(Directly as a result of Beijing’s stupid visa policies over the last few
years, and no advance warning thereof, and actually, no discernable coherent
policy backing it up either?), and the exceptionally gifted Chinese female
singer is also not around either. However, the boys greet us and offer a pretty
good band that now includes: keyboards, drums, and the most fuckwitted guy
trying to play Chinese blues Harmonica. Save me! The set begins with an unusual
rendition of ‘
What I actually want to do is get my longest old term male friend out here = Roger, I need you to teach these guys how to final deliver English songs!
pleasure in and chill … not hammering the beers as was the case the night
before, but enjoying the ambience and friendly musical environment. Tonight we
are drinking German steins of ‘Whatever-schwiss-bier’, and Jim is very happy
because it: tastes just the same, and looks just the same; as the stuff he
drank way back when - whilst on tour in
Catching a taxi outside immediately, we soon arrive at the hotel; whereupon Dave and Siu Ying hit the sack immediately. Jim and I head for a nightcap, and Jim surprises me by leaving early (3 AM!). We pick up yet another Muslim nosh hamburger thingymagig en route to our hotel, and crash out ourselves – I also remember to get the guy to let me into the room again = I am a very good boy, I think! I could sleep for a week…
Instead, Monday happens:
all too suddenly, we meet in the foyer and Jim then transfers to another nearby
hotel with Siu Ying looking out for him and fixing the room rate. Jim spends
time on the telephone, whilst I manage to extract funds from China’s only
working visa ATM. The contact numbers from the fliers we got from
are supposed to meet Fiona at 12 o’clock, so she can be our guide for
eventually get my act together, and remember somebody who does have Fiona’s
number = my wife! Calling her, there is no reply. OK, it is before 12 and she
may be working with phone off or muted. There is a mood about Foshan today
which basically means that nothing is happening. Jim is now using the excellent
facilities offered by an internet café, which is housed on the second storey of
Dave’s hotel. These computers only speak Chinese of course, so unzipping
attachments and manipulating files is accomplished with guesswork and a bit of
luck. At 1.30, Fiona calls Jim’s phone in order to speak to me. Apparently she
sent me a txt message last night cancelling today, which I never received
because my battery was shot. Ho-hum! Siu Ying and I have things we must do, so
offering Jim a rendezvous, we head back for our island home. Jim stays on an
extra night or more to see the people
Tuesday evening I get an email from Jim, which is his reply to
I pick this up again two days later, with the birth of my first child – but in the meantime, we had a short break, and so should you…..