Well they arrived. Not quite the fanfare they or indeed I was expecting, but they arrived. The problem was they didn’t tell me what time they were arriving until 3 days prior to arrival. During this time my internet was cut off and I then I went to Hangzhou with Aussie Ben. Therefore, G and Spinks landed in Shanghai at midnight with no idea where to go and no-one there to help them. Luckily a Nigerian bloke called Felix offered them some Jack Daniels and ended up taking them to his brothers’ place for a nap. A wonderful tone-setter for the trip to come if there ever was one. They got hold of me eventually and I gave them the details for the hostel they were booked into. Smooth.
Today I took them to the Bund and Luxun Park. Spinks swam in the lake with all the old guys (we met an old bloke called Mark who loved posing with us in his speedos) and we had a chin-up competition with the pensioners in the outdoor gym. Embarrassingly, G won. Now, the two of them are passed out on my couch (it’s 7pm) and apparently we’re going to pop along to the nightclub Nigerian Felix owns. As I said, a good start.
Apart from this, it’s been all endings and farewells. My last weekend at school was particularly bitter sweet. I had to pose for photos for most of the time as parents queued up with their cameras, trying to force a cheesy smile when all I wanted to do was weep. I’ll miss a lot of the children, they were great fun, cheeky, loud and hilarious. I’ll also miss my favourite verse of The Wheels On The Bus – “Alex on the bus goes “handsome boy, handsome boy, handsome boy…” Self-penned of course, but I’m pretty sure no other group of individuals will be willing to sing that. So, it’s farewell Walawala, and hello to the open road. First stop – Qingdao!