Last week I witnessed the clash of the footballing titans that are Shanghai FC and Sydney FC in the Asian Champions League. Hongkou Football Stadium was awash with about 6000 Shanghai fans and about zero traveling Sydney fans. Despite this the atmosphere was pretty electric, with the Shanghai faithful chanting and bouncing for the whole 90 minutes. Their chants consisted of ones that all the other big clubs use in Europe but with the word ‘Shanghai’ craftily shoe-horned in there. At one point they even sang the French national anthem (absolute tune) but in Chinese. I spotted a ton of foreigners at the game, who were clearly reliving their days as members of European ‘firms,’ as they all had their tops off (Jimmy 5-bellies) and were yelling obscenities into loud-hailers that the locals didn’t understand. My mates and I got our tickets from a tout outside the ground. While I was waiting for my mates to arrive I watched the game that the touts and the police must play every week, as the hawkers creep up to the metro station trying to push their wares. As soon as they cross the line between the concrete outside and the tiles of the station floor they are fair game for some police brutality. I watched one guy getting repeated dead legs from a beret-wearing cop. Later I saw the same guy creep back to the station clutching his numb legs and arse. It reminded me of school. We ended up getting the best seats in the house, right above the local ‘casuals’ and this being China we could bring as much food and drink from outside into the game. So, numerous cans of Suntory and sandwiches then. Excellent.
This weekend was Easter if you didn’t know. China certainly didn’t, although apparently our school did as we were forced to celebrate it with every class. This meant painting boiled eggs, hiding them and then hunting for them. One of my kids just ate his eggs. Lad. Once this was done I tried explaining the significance of the egg (is it just me or is there a muddled message here; somewhere in-between the egg symbolizing the new life of Spring and coincidentally the resurrection of Jesus and the egg representing the rock that Big J rolled to the side on his way to surprise his disciples) but as I wasn’t really sure myself (and I was only ever into Easter for the chocolate) we just played balloon volleyball, my new favourite game.