This is the last day with my laptop as I’m posting it home tomorrow with my folks. My folks of course, being my parents, who have spent the past week in dear old Shangers, visiting their beloved firstborn. It’s been a great reunion, and my home for the past year has somehow managed to impress them, despite the various flaws I’ve mentioned in the previous seventy-two posts on this blog. The first day, I took them for a wee walk around my favourite park. There was a bloke shagging a tree. Not, obviously, really shagging the tree, but groinally thrusting it repeatedly to revive some well-needed chi from it’s barky innards. My dad remarked – “Well that gives a whole new meaning to barking up the wrong tree.” A brilliant dad-joke if there ever was one.
Later on, the two of them were scoping down Nanjing Road when a hawker approached yelling, “MP3, watches, suitcase!” “No, thank you.” My mum replied, in her best Chinese. As the hawker sifted off, dad started smelling his breath. “Jayney,” he enquired, “do I need to brush my teeth?” My mum, adopting her usual miffed expression, shook her head. “No Jonny. Why?” “Well that man just offered me toothpaste.”
They visited the school today, which was great as the teaching assistants could see what old foreigners looked like. My mum said she felt like royalty. I took them into one of my classes and got the kids to ask them questions. First question was to my dad. “Are you one hundred?” There was laughter, followed by the immortal comment by nine year old Cook – “He is old and strong!”
All in all, I think Shanghai surprised them, although as with most visitors (including myself) they didn’t really know what to expect, just not what was here. The heat almost melted dad, the food disagreed with mum (two visits to Pizza Hut and counting) but they loved it. Especially Luxun Park, which if you ever come to the city should literally be on the top of your list, and not just for tree shaggers. This week my parents saw a full-blown choir, an expert saxophonist, a vast gathering of deaf people, mass ballroom dancing, elderly chin-ups, lake swimming, people jogging backwards and tree shagging. Oh, I already mentioned the tree shagging. Good times.