It was a pretty good end to the week and a great weekend. Friday was the last day of Indian Cultural Week at School, with a fashion parade and Bollywood dancing. After the buses left with the customers, a few of us gathered at the canteen, by the lake, for our last Friday staff gathering before Christmas. I played two brackets with three colleagues. There were some great moments, but we need to practice a bit.The bus had us home not long after 7pm. Helen had baked a birthday cake, and we had it with a bottle of sparkling rose, and Machi, out in the garden.

On Saturday morning, we went to Haizu Square to do some Christmas shopping. First, we went to the Christmas market for costumes for an up-coming event – apparently more than 100 people, dressed as Santa and other Christmas icons, do a pub crawl around town, singing carols. I bought a full Santa suit for less than AU$20 and Helen’s fairy costume was a dollar or two more. Next, we hit One Link, which is six, or so, floors of small shops selling all sorts or knick knacks. I got very little, because it became a bit much. I think there are a couple of other markets I need to get to in the next two weeks.

In the evening, we were back in town for another dance performance. We went to the nearby Irish pub for tea, and met up with a few colleagues, who were also going. The performance had a few good bits, but the troupe of 5 couldn’t sustain the quality for the whole performance. We moved on to a nearby club, which we had not been to. It was pretty good, with an indoor and outdoor area. Helen and I, mindful of a big day on Sunday, had one drink, and then came home.

We headed out on our bicycles by 7.30am on Sunday morning. We crossed the highway via the overpass, and rode east. We found a great road for “opening up”, and then came back to the highway at another overpass, more than a kilometre south. After crossing the highway, we rode further south, along a back road, which curved around to meet the highway. We ended up in an area full of restaurants and shops that warrants further exploration.

Back at home, we showered, changed and caught a taxi to the Westin Hotel, for the champagne brunch, on the 40th floor. It was expensive (by local standards), but wonderful. We had more than our fair share of Verve Cliquot, and the food was delicious, with excellent variety. We felt like there would be no need to eat for a couple of days.

After the mandatory lie down at home, we wandered down to the village, to buy Helen’s weekly flowers. As always, it was interesting. A bloke was dismembering a goat for a small audience beside the flower seller. I saw some stairs that I had not previously noticed. At the top, there was a place with several full-size snooker tables. As far as I could gather, the price of a game was about AU$1.70 an hour, so I’ll see if any of my colleagues, who live nearby, are keen for an occasional game.


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