The grey skies/probably smog of the past couple of weeks have been burned off recently and now shanghai basks in what can only be described as a Torturous Death Ray of Searing Solar Fury. But the skies are blue so that’s nice. In between sweating my face off I went to the park with a couple of mates. This was Forest Park (not to be mistaken for Cammy’s housing estate in Stonehaven) on the outskirts of the city, which took about 40 minutes to get there by scooter – bare in mind I thought we were on the outskirts. It has funfair rides, lakes and unsurprisingly a fair bit of forest, which is mighty refreshing considering the concrete jungle I reside in. Kids on pedalos attacked us with super soakers as we drank beer on the shore, a woman tried to charge us money for playing football on some grass and brides were being photographed everywhere! This being one of the only large parks in shanghai, all brides-to-be like to get some ‘natural’ pictures of themselves frolicking with their grooms in some flowers whilst in their wedding garments. The thing is there’s absolutely nothing natural about a bloke in a tux leaping in the air with a bouquet while his fiancée sniffs a tree. Or a bride lies in some earth as her man sprinkles petals on her face. I watched for quite a while.
Later on we went to a very expensive but very great Belgian beer bar where they served loads of the beers Cam had stored in our cellar back in Cressy Terrace. Between the three of us we spent well over 1000 RMB and I fell asleep in the taxi.
Yesterday was another scorcher, so it was only natural that we made the long metro journey to Dino Beach, the biggest water park in Shanghai. My dreams of going down endless slides over and over again were immediately quashed upon arrival however. Roughly the population of Belgium had decided to turn up (but in asian form) and even getting space to put on my togs in the changing room was like attending the Hajj. We went straight to the wave pool and you couldn’t see the water for people in rubber rings, it was like a giant undulating Chinaman soup. I tried to join in without a ring and felt like I was about to be eaten by Rick Moranis in Honey I Shrunk The Kids. The rapids were much the same, a congested highway of partially drowned children being bashed against the walls by a malfunctioning wave machine. For lunch we went to a fast food joint where the floor was a soggy combination of chips and verruca skin. We managed one slide because the queue was so long and even then my mate Danny fell off his mat immediately and slithered down at half-speed. Strangely enough though I had tonnes of fun. I genuinely can’t explain it but I did.
That night we saw a huge fight outside in the courtyard of our apartment complex. An old man slapped a woman, a kid jumped off a railing a la Hulk Hogan and succeeded in landing on his face and the police did bugger all. There was a drawn-out mediation process and people slowly went home again. Great fun!
Words I learnt this week – good bye (zie jien – kind of) and I don’t understand what I hear (Tim Bu Dong) or see (Cam Bu Dong). Fluent.