Back home in the UK, a barbecue is normally a back-garden affair, featuring burnt sausages, potato salads and wasps. In Shanghai, gardens are hard to come by (apart from those living in Pudong), and instead a number of parks have “barbecue pits” allowing friends and family to gather and cook together in the late-spring heat.
So, to end our last weekend in China, on Sunday afternoon we met up with a few of our local friends (ex-colleagues, ex-pats, ex-language teachers) and their families in Gucun Forest Park, out in the northern suburbs of Shanghai. Hiring a “VIP” barbecue pit seemed the sensible idea given the close proximity of those attempting to cook in the other areas of the park. An on-site supermarket allows visitors to stock-up on everything required for an elaborate barbecue (from chopsticks and plastic cups through to chicken and liver on a stick).
Many “last” moments at the moment: playing a short acoustic set with Felix after the barbecue (of our 13 songs, we played the 8 that we could remember most of) for – probably – the last time ever was another of my many highlights of our Chinese experience. Our audience grew slightly from our group of 30 or so as the staff waited for us to finish the noise and allow them to get in to clear up. Thanks to all our guests for allowing Felix and I to perform; hopefully some of you enjoyed it!
A fantastic way to end our last weekend – China continues to provide new experiences right until the end.
Our barbecue followed a Saturday night meal out in El Patio, a Spanish-themed bar featuring expensive but tasty tapas alongside ridiculously expensive water (nearly £5 per bottle – something we discovered at the end of the meal after drinking 7 bottles). The night ended in the Shanghai Brewery – time for one last pint of on-premise brewed stout.