Saturday, August 11, 2007

3 weeks to go.

Well, what a week.
Last Sunday, our latest new bandsman arrived (I would have mentioned this earlier, but I didn't believe that they'd actually bring someone out with only a month to go - nevertheless, he's here for the month!). His name is Michael, and he's from City of Blacktown, the Sydney band I went to Scotland with last year [thinking about it, that trip was one whole year ago - doesn't time fly!]. He's 15, and should have a blast. It does mean our repertoire has been slashed, until he can learn some of the tunes that we play, but until then, it's going to be a lot of Scotland the Brave/Amazing Grace etc. Still, we have enough between us that we can cobble together a show.

On Tuesday, we had a visit from a friend of Wayne's from Melbourne. Also called Michael (which caused no end of confusion), he came over for the week, just to liven things up a bit - his dad works for Qantas, so he can get mad cheap airfares. He left last night, and was suitably impressed by The Park. For a short time, it was good to have the Aussies out-numbering the Canadians!

On Wednesday afternoon, we were asked to stay on-site for the night, because of a typhoon warning. The evening show at The Park was canned, anything light enough to be lifted with one hand was either tied down or brought inside, the all the banners along the side of the road (the long skinny ones that hang down from the light-posts) were rolled up and secured and other such preparations were made, and we thought that we were in for a mad storm. Unfortunately, all we got was a bit of rain - not even the road-turning-into-river that we usually get when it rains hard (although that's probably saying more about the drainage of the roads here than it is about intensity of rain!), so that was a bit of an anti-climax.

On Thursday, we took Michael (both of them!) out to the Irish Pub that we went to on St Patrick's Day. We had just got out of the taxi and were walking towards the pub, when Micheal (Wayne's friend) wondered where Wayne's pipes were (Wayne had brought them along, just in case the patrons wanted some entertainment). The pipes were, of course, in the boot of the taxi we had just vacated, and which had already driven off looking for a fare. Wayne set a new record in the 100m thonged dash to try and get back to the taxi stand in time, and the rest of us started up the road, flagging down every taxi we could find and checking in the boot for the elusive black pipe-case. After the cause appeared to be lost, we headed back towards the taxi rank where Wayne had stayed while trying to telephone our interpreter to find the number of the taxi company to see if maybe we could track down the pipes that way. On our way back, though, we met Wayne who had come after us to tell us that our taxi driver had realised that we had left something in his boot and had returned to see if we were still there! Phew. After our heart rates had returned to normal, we proceeded to have an enjoyable night at the pub. Wayne played, I flung, and a good time was had by all, instead of it being the most expensive night out ever!

Friday it drizzled all day, so we didn't end up playing at all that day. Saturday, being Micheal's last night in Shenzhen we went out to dinner. I also took the opportunity to get measured up for a tailor-made suit (jacket + 2x pants = about AUD$80. Bargain!). We'll see how that one turns out.

I think that's brought us up to date. Oh, there's one other thing that I keep forgetting to mention. We're everywhere. By that I mean that there are posters of us all over the park and around the city - all of them derivatives of this photo (sorry, I couldn't find a better version on their website, as it's all in Chinese, and I don't yet read Chinese). It's weird walking past a 7-foot tall likeness of yourself as you go for supper!

Anyway, that's all for now. Only 19 days to go!

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