August 2nd: Olney

Poor, neglected blog…
Bron and Tim waiting for the rafts to appear

Bron and Tim waiting for the rafts to appear

We’ve been back in the UK for just over 2 months now.  We no longer have to worry about melting in the Shanghai summer, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius  (although this particular British summer has somehow managed 30 degrees on a few occasions), crossing the road (pedestrians having right of way here) or cockroaches in the bed.  I do, however, have to worry about over-eating (a British calorific diet contributing to my commensurately expanding waistline in just a few weeks), expensive petrol and access to online shopping.  Despite the plethora of colourful, offer-rich, information-explosive shopping websites in China, being unable to read (and hence, transact) the Chinese sites is a pretty good deterrent to buying things you don’t actually need.

With Isaac and Chong on the beach at Bray

With Isaac and Chong on the beach at Bray

But we miss constantly being challenged with language barriers, we miss the never-ending flow of bizarre but unforgettable random encounters (from hot springs on mountaintops to karaoke swimming pools) and we miss the strange bunch of people that became our short-lived Shanghai family.  With regards to the latter, we’ve realised the world isn’t that small.  Marcel’s 6 week stint in the UK as part of his MBA gave us a great night out in Olney a few weeks ago (always good to introduce UK market town life to a South African), and we’ve been over to Ireland for the second part of Chong and Isaac’s wedding.  A meet-up with Rachel beckons later this year.

It hasn’t take us long to settle back into life here; from weddings and a plethora of beer festivals to the eccentricities of British life demonstrated by the annual Olney raft race (build a raft out of floating stuff, paddle it a few hundred metres down a slow moving river; dodging the over-enthusiastic crowd, some of whom have made it into the river) after the annual Olney rubber duck race.
Our visas expire in March 2014 – maybe there’s one more trip on the cards (got to use the airmiles somehow) before we finally put an end to our Chinese experience.

 

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