February 2nd: Hunan, Yunnan, Vietnamese, French. And a pie.

Change is afoot.  After a year in Shanghai, Richard and JB will shortly be returning to the UK, leaving a significant dent in the UK Argos team, and a pool-playing, Guinness-drinking shaped dent in our social life*.  After a stupidly large lunch with Jo, we spent most of Saturday saying the first of many goodbyes to Richard and JB by playing pool in our favourite local bar (Masse) , accompanied by Shawn.  A couple of our local friends, Isaac and Chong also made an appearance to increase the numbers for a far less hectic Saturday than we’ve had in a while.

Me, Bron and JB in Kartel

Me, Bron and JB in Kartel

5 hours playing pool – Bron even had enough time to abandon us for some kind of nail trimming/painting adventure before returning to drag JB and  I off for dinner with Jo, Rachel, Emily and Julia in a local French restaurant.  La Saleya was one of the first restaurants we visited after moving here back in April, so good to finally go back.  Shanghai’s 24-hour attitude to socialising was neatly demonstrated by agreeing to meet up with Craig later that evening.  I say evening; we met him for a few cocktails at 12.30am.

A guitar day again on Sunday with Felix, this time to audition a potential new drummer (James).  I was intrigued as to what equipment the drummer would turn up at our house with –  fortunately a box of electronic tricks, and no giant drum set.

Friday night had a distinctly British feel to it, both from the company (the Argos expat team) and the entertainment: three British comedians.  Followed by Elousie’s genius suggestion of ordering a pie at 10.30pm at night.

Bees, Beef Jerky and "Malt Chips".  An obvious combination.

Bees, Beef Jerky and “Malt Chips”. An obvious combination.

Tuesday’s catch-up with Isaac, Chong, Marcel and Hannah took us back to Southern Barbarian for more bees and other Yunnan delicacies.  This time, the bees definitely looked a little more bee-like.  A shame that Marcel and Hannah are merely passing through Shanghai, leaving later this year to continue their MBA course in other countries.

On Wednesday evening, Shawn took Richard, JB and I to one of his favourite Hunan restaurants for one of JB’s many such leaving events.  Hunan food is the other, lesser-known spicy Chinese cuisine – for some reason Sichuan food is popular in the UK but before moving here I’d never heard of Hunan.  Excellent food, as always.

I spent Thursday night fighting with electronic equipment which was obstinately refusing to work.  Not as much of a fight as Bronwen had with the hairdressers though.  7.30pm she entered the hairdressers.  11.30pm she exited.  And to think I’d ordered a delicious Vietnamese meal for us at 9pm thinking “She’ll be back soon”.

After so much travel over the last couple of months, spending two consecutive weekends in Shanghai felt a little wasteful.  But I think we probably needed the break.

*I’m not sure if that makes sense either.

Definitely more bee-like.

Definitely more bee-like.

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