As some of the Hastings posse may well have heard, the legendary Nick Rowley has also recently landed in China for another - ahem - respectable teaching position.
He’s, metaphorically at least, just up the road. A cool eight hour-ish drive with a police escort, or more like thirteen without. Rowley and his better half recently touched down in Binzhou – another city you’ve never heard of with 4 million plus inhabitants – in the northern province of Shangdong. Shamoooon.
We have ambitious plans to meet up very soon in Spring Festival around the end of January. It’s one of the biggest school holidays we get I’m lead to believe.
Hopefully he and Nicki will come down to Changzhou and join me for a day or two and I’ll head up to them. At this end they can expect fine dining establishments alongside some filthy ones with better meals. A few choice parks, a Dairy Queen (ice-cream thing from the states), a trip to an Armani store to see over-priced jackets we could never afford to buy. Ooh and I’m sure we’ll squeeze in a trip to Canal 5 to see the local jazz band do Moloko covers.
At his, I’ve got the promise of my very own ‘Owen’s room’, I can sample their central heating, eat in some equally shabby and eloquent places and demonstrate just how poor my Chinese is. Apparently Rowley’s a massive hit with the locals at their KTV (Karaoke TV) places so that will surely be on the hitlist.
We’ll scoot through Shanghai – the largest city in the world by population (almost 24 million) - en route and explore the city known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’.