September 23rd: Free Sausage

The protest

When is a protest not a protest…

Advice from the British government is to avoid becoming involved with any protests, peaceful or otherwise, when abroad.  So when John and I saw a large group of slowly marching, traditionally dressed people carrying placards on Saturday evening, we were naturally curious.  Tension between China and Japan has been escalating all week*, with Japanese cars being overturned in some cities and Japanese restaurants being attacked.  Many Japanese establishments have temporarily closed, with boarded up windows and Chinese flags prominently displayed.  We suspected the placard holders were part of a Chinese protest, and so decided to follow them (following not constituting involvement).  Peacefully, the group moved through one of Shanghai’s busiest bar areas, attracting more curious followers as they travelled.  Then they stopped in unison, facing…. a night club.

The protest stops

… when it’s a marketing campaign for a nightclub.

A brilliant marketing exercise, and if we’d have looked more closely, we’d have noticed the Chinese writing on the placards was followed by a few words in English: “Club Truelove”.  It worked too – John and I (abandoned for the evening by virtue of a girly night out) thought we’d have a look inside.  Two middle-aged Western blokes amongst a throng of young Chinese with big hair (the boys, not the girls – and I mean BIG hair) was apparently sufficiently incongruous to cause the girl sat next to us to take a couple of photos of us.

The protest stops

Me with the marketing campaign people

So Saturday was a day of playing pool and relaxing whilst the girls were out and about.  And great customer service from the staff at Masse; they were holding an all-you-can-eat barbecue event for the set price of 150RMB (£15).  I only wanted a snack – they give me a free sausage.

Housewarming

Late-night at our house: Bron, Richard, Flo, Nicole, May-Britt, John, Carsten and Alex

On Friday night we held our somewhat delayed housewarming party (5 months late).  A fantastic biryani from Mrs Sims did the job, catering perfectly for a large group of people.  Great to spend some time with a few of our Chinese colleagues too, even if Anny’s daughter (18 months old) was a little freaked-out by so many non-Chinese people.

A day trip to Qingdao on Wednesday to meet a few of our Haier colleagues bought back memories of living in the States.  When the country is so big, the nearest city is a plane journey away.  A meeting takes 7 hour to get to by train or 90 minutes by air.  Sadly, I still hate flying.

* The Japanese government purchased three islands (known as the Diaoyu islands in China) in the East China Sea, with ownership claimed by China.

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