They say we shouldn’t count our blessings but I just can’t help it. I am keeping tab on the number of Singaporean friends I have met up in Shanghai.. the numbers are pretty impressive.
May: Felicia, John, Ow Yong, Monica & Julian
June: Charlie, Jamie
July: Scott, Desmond, Yogi
August: Meiling, Bettina
Nov: Tracy, Ken, Jinwei, Hong Ai
Dec: Sam, Lusia (and 5 other family members)
Jan: Felicia & Elkan
Today, I bid farewell to my 23rd Shanghai Guest. (Sam didn’t make it to my house..so Felicia & Elkan should be the 6th Visitor to my house). It was one big group of them – Sam, Lusia, Jacob, Claudia, Lusia’s mum & brother, Sam’s father.
I dun think I have been a good host cos’ I never really bring Sam to those "places" he originally wanted. (Haaa…you know what I mean, Sam.) Braving through sickness and the cruel winter breeze, I gave them a super packed "6-in-one" night tour of Shanghai, specifically showing them the famous Huai Hai Lu, Xin Tian Di, the Bund, Peace Hotel, Nanjing Shopping Lane and Hu Jiang Lu night market.
In this trip, I saw a new side of Lusia. She doesn’t speak Chinese but her bargaining power is superb. I saw the way she "cut prices" with the local.. her formula? Division by 5. Man, it is impressive! Despite her sharp skills, Sam and his clan still fall for the "high-handed" Chinese salesmanship. In one of those "tour-leader’s shopping stops", they were kinda "pressured" to cough out hundred of SingDollars to buy the health pills. (I have to confess too, I fell for it back in 2003. I paid S$200 for a bottle of pills)
Sat was a very bad day for Sam. More than half of his clan have taken ill. Jacob, being the youngest in the pack, suffered the most. He spent 3-4 hours in the hospital on a drip. This may be the most dramatic holidays they ever have. They are just not used to the water and weather over here.
Nevertheless, Sam & clan had a dazzling finale. Last night, we blew the sky with loud bangs and bright colours. For the 1st time, Sam’s clan experienced their own "National Day Fireworks". Sam’s dad was skeptical about this. He asked me twice if it is legal to do so in Shanghai. We tried to assure him that it is ok to lit the sky. When taking photo with the fireworks, they were nervous holding the packs in their hands. Sam asked "Safe or not?". Can’t blame him.. it is a natural Singaporean’s survivor instinct.
At the end of the night, we all had such a good time! Sam’s daddy was panting cos’ he was the one lighting up most of the fireworks. Like little boys, they lighted the fuse and ran off like chickens. There was an accident though, one of the fireworks flew horizontally at Claudia – who was standing 50m away. The bout of light hit her legs but she suffered nothing but a bad shock. For safety reasons, Lusia and Claudia went 100m back, seeking shelter behind a tree. Despite this near-miss, Sam and his dad were great sport and they completed all the fireworks.
It was a good meet-up…a little too short for me. Back in secondary school days, Sam and I would have never imagine that one day his dad and I would be lighting up fireworks in Shanghai. Funny how life turned out the way it is.
p/s (Oh yes, congrats to Gareth. I heard from Sam that you have lost 5kg! Guess Sam’s secret to slimming worked for you.)