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Saturday 3rd April

We all got up this morning a little worse for ware after last night with Paul and Steve. We had to be in the airport for 4pm so we had booked a taxi for 3pm to take us there. The taxi driver was actually a Chinese lad that had collected Megan, Podge and Flinner from Paul’s earlier that morning. So Megan wooed him with her Chinese and arranged the collection. Not an easy thing to do in the world’s capital of horrible taxi drivers.

I finally did it. I was finally forced to replace my flops. Falling down the stairs in the train station was the final straw. When the middle thong burst through and it was impossible to wear them for more than five steps I knew the end was neigh. How I miss them. The way they moulded to my foot, the way I could wear them forever. (I’m having some teething problems with the new fellas!) Megan and I succumbed to the pressure and bought new ones in the airport.

When we got to China we walked through the gate and Sambo and Jord were there waiting on us. Bless their cotton socks. They had a big sign for Global Slacker, with our names all over it, cold beers, chocolate and all sorts of other treats. They even had a van booked for us and all of our luggage. They brought us to our new apartment which Sam had organised for us for our stay. It’s stunning. Really swish and brand new. So new in fact that the mattresses are still in plastic. Sam had put out duvets but hadn’t got around to the sheets. Colm thought it was a bedwetting safety measure! We slept on it anyway. That night whenever anybody turned over there was the loudest most uncomfortable rip of skin from plastic.

After checking out the apartment the lads brought us to Jellyfish Jord’s new bar. It was so swanky. The lads had organised a big Welcome Home party for Floot, the place was jammers with all their friends. We had such a brilliant night, it was a great way to start the China section off. We met so many cool people and are already falling in love with Chengdu!

Wednesday 7th April 2010

Cathy arrived today so Colm and I collected her from the airport. Unfortunately we didn’t collect her bags which never made it. She wasn’t in the best form because she hadn’t slept in 72hours so we made it our mission to show her a good time – despite her protests.

We took her to Blue Chair, which was Megan and Flinn’s local restaurant when they lived here. The staff were all so excited to see them and there were hugs and kisses all around.

After a savage dinner we headed over to Shamrock John Dolaz had brought a new Flip video camera for Flinner from the States. A quite drink turned into a bit of a bender and 17 pitchers later we all fell into a cab. Poor Cathy was so wreaked but every time she even attempted to voice it somebody would gan bei (干杯) her. In the end she took Caoimhe’s advice ‘That which you can’t get out of, get into wholeheartedly’ - So wise!

It ended up being a great night, we met the marines, and a couple of the football lads too. Craig was there ‘working’. He has the cushiest number, it’s his job to make the foreigners feel welcome and basically party with them.

The next morning we got a call from John Dolas to say that one of the football lads punched him in the face outside the bar accusing him of not paying. Flinner started to look into it and the story went like this;

John was sitting at the table with the football lads after we left and when he went to leave he leaned forward to say goodbye. Romain, a Spanish lad thought he spat in their pitcher. He ran outside chasing after John and in his Spanish accent shouted ‘Did you spit?’ and John replies ‘Yeah I paid’. Really pissed off now Romain shouts back at him ‘Did you spit?’ John is like, ‘Yeah, what’s your problem?’


Saturday 10th April 2010

Caoimhe and Leanne arrived today from Nepal. We were expecting them yesterday morning but they miscalculated the time of their train by 24 hours - only them! Either way we’re delighted to have them here. Bruce and Reed invited us to a charity event in Shamrock for Habitat for Humanity. It was the usual ‘charity do’ with a wine reception, buffet dinner, raffle and auction, only with a bit of a twist. In order to get the auction going, the bar kept sending around trays and trays of tequila. With every tray that went around the bids got higher and higher, I’m not sure which bids were actually bids and which were drunken outbursts. Every person that won a prize or bid also got two shots. One for themselves and one to nominate to someone else, Bruce being our host was clearly our nomination, but it started to catch on and in the end everyone that won anything was nominating him. And thus began the Bruce – Podge love affair, Tequila and Hugs!

There was also an auction for people which Craig was up for. Not one afraid to get his kit off – or so we all learned, he got up and started getting naked. The crowd loved it and Craiggers was snapped up. We didn’t know it at the time but it was just the start of Craig’s naked month in Chengdu! He loves the nudity!

Thursday 15th April 2010

Today was a momentous occasion, Global Slacker’s first board meeting. It was a business brunch which Megan and Eoin organised. Defiantly recommended, if you ever get the chance, Flinner’s pancakes are delicious. 

We all went to tip tonight which was great fun. The lads are really enjoying getting back to rugby and getting fit. It’s also great as it gives the girls a chance to play without ending up looking like John Dolas – always a plus!

Thursday night is Ladies Night in the SangriLa Hotel. Which basically means free wine all night, it’s awesome. You don’t even have to order they just keep filling up your glass. It was a good chance to hang out with the girls, and ChinChin joined us. We were the last to leave the bar as we ended up drinking with the band, who are amazing. There isn’t a song they can’t slam. Black eyed peas, Lady Gaga, all the rappers, and ballads, you name it they nail it.

Friday 16th April 2010

Megan and Flinn had a Molex lunch today, but called us to meet them after in Happy Valley, a massive theme park just outside of town. We went with friends of theirs from Molex, John, his wife Katie and their daughter Evie. They go all the time so it was great to have Evie with us to tell us all the good rides.

The park itself was massive. It had everything including a show with dancers and Chinese circus acrobats who scared the crap out of us. They had no safety wires and were doing the craziest stunts.

I think my favourite of all was the haunted house. It was scary, with things popping out at you. There was a girl in front of us balling crying and you could hear her wails throughout the whole thing. One part in particular there was a prison cage with a skeleton in it, it was actually a real man, and he tried to grab you as you went by. Megan and I were at the end of the line and had seen him try to grab everyone else so we weren’t too shocked when he grabbed at us. It was when he bent the bars of the cage back and climbed out onto us that we got the real fight. We continued on and Flinner had hidden in one of the displays so that when we rounded the corner he came jumping out at us and frightened the lives out of us. A bit shaky we continued on for a bit, when something jumped on us from behind, it was the prisoner, he’d followed us through the entire fun house, and scared the crap out of us!

After the theme park Fitzey and Zhou Ma, his Tibetan friend from Jiuzhaigou called over. They were up for the weekend for the rugby, and he drove the jeep down so I’m really excited to see it tomorrow.

Saturday 17th April 2010

Colm got an early birthday present today of a Mac, he’s delighted with himself. He didn’t get to play with it though because they had a rugby match at 12 - Chengdu Pandas V Chongqing. Rugby was good craic, Megan is their costume liaison officer and had us decked out in the Panda Black and Whites. Our job for the match, apart from supporting was to sell beer.

The Pandas has a full squad and ran the Chonggers off the pitch, the final score was ‘70 something’ podgic! We did have a fatal loss though when Blakers the team captain injured his collar bone, it was bad and Megan took him straight to hospital, hopefully he’s OK in time for the rugby tournament in Xi’amen in three weeks.

After the game we went back to Shamrock to find Bruce. He was on his way home from soccer and decided/was convinced to stay out with us. The Chongqing team were all in the bar too and the rivalry continued with team on team drinking games. Chongqing won the drinking round but in the dance off the panda’s kicked ass. Guess who got naked, fully no boxers butt naked… Craigers!! The messing started then and we had the best fun dancing. Bruce was still in his soccer gear and was feeling particularly sporty with high kicks and head spins - we rocked out! Then it was on to Jelly for some WooWoo’s - love that stuff.

Monday 19th April 2010

A big gang of us went out for dinner tonight. Along with the seven slackers we had Sam and Angie, Jord and ChinChin, Fitzy, Ian and Wally. Wally is a Tibetan guy who Floot met in Fitzey’s park. He is hilarious. He learnt his English using a programme called Crazy English. It’s an American programme and it basically encourages the students to shout everything out. It’s designed to teach students to be confident in speaking English. The idea is to get used to looking silly in the classroom so they are not afraid to actually speak. On top of this he is really outgoing and speaks with an American twang. He is 19 and in Chengdu studying English but doesn’t go to class because he has decided he learns more watching T.V.

After dinner Jord says, ‘Do you want to come to Jelly for one drink, it’s Israel’s 62nd birthday.’ All of Jord’s business partners in the bar are Israeli so we decided to go for one. When we got to the bar the place was dead. There were only a handful of Israeli men having quiet pints. Myself and Megan went to the bar and started giving Yonni the Israeli barman stick for not being patriotic enough. A shocking battle ensued, shots and WooWoo’s flying left right and centre. Unfortunately our foolishness ended in tears – nobody can take on a barman and win, he’s got a whole artillery behind him! Suffice to say I had to go home early, ‘one drink’ thanks Jord!!

Tuesday 20th April 2010

Dying, Dying, Dying!!! I hate Israel!

Today I got lost in Carrefour. The shop is completely insane! It is on two floors, food downstairs and everything else – clothes, toiletries, kitchen supplies, cleaning products etc are on the second floor. So I did the food shop and paid for it (not realising that there was a second floor) missing all the non-food essentials. On the way out I passed a stairs and since I was still missing stuff I headed up the stairs in search of all the extra bits I needed. Buying shampoo and body wash when you don’t have any Chinese is no easy feat, trying to match up the characters or guess the brands, is a nightmare. But I got through it and proud of myself went to pay.

Little did I know the nightmare was only beginning! I started wandering around the hundred isles looking for a checkout, and eventually after 20mins, in desperation, I had to ask a western shopper -the only one in the shop. He told me that all of the checkouts are on the ground floor. Grand! So I continued my search of the second floor, now looking for the stairs.

Another 15 minutes later and I still can’t find a way out. Beaten, a broken agitated woman, I decide enough is enough and reluctantly abandon my full basket. I very slyly hide it in a back isle, and head back to the door I came in. At this stage I just want to get out of the godforsaken place.

So I get to the door and the security guard won’t let me leave without a receipt for the food. Unfortunately it’s in my abandoned basket. I’m trying to explain that I don’t have it and the crowd is gathering, shouting at me in Chinese. I’m already well pissed off and I give up and head back into the vortex that is Carrefour second floor, to find the hidden basket, which as it turns out is very very well hidden indeed. After much heartache, and very dogey behaviour, I find it. But when I get back to the front door the security guard has called his supervisor because he’s convinced that I’m stealing all the food. ‘Play Dumb’ tactics were called for and very innocently I produce the receipt and pretend that I’ve never seen any of them before. Despite their confusion I managed to escape with a stream of Chinese people shouting at me.

And that is the story of how I spent 40 minutes trying to get out of Carrefour.

Tonight Johnny and Kim invited us to their house for dinner and it was completely amazing. Flinner choose the menu, and despite her horror at the combinations Kim produced the most divine meal! For starters we had homemade tomato and basil or mushroom soup with soda bread and blue cheese, apple and honey roasted pecan nut salad. Main course was the best mashed spuds I’ve ever had with beef stew and for desert we had, the famous, Guinness Cupcakes! Devine! Thanks Kim, you’re awesome and we love you!

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