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The China Diaries - Day 4

Matt Burgan  October 13, 2010 4:37 PM

The morning doesn’t start on a good note, with the full revelation of Peter Maynard’s dropping of the Buddha statue late last night.

You see, the Flying Chopsticks are winning the race and were presented with a Buddha to carry around as its trophy. On the mini-bus ride back up the mountain, Maynard fell asleep.

Just as the bus had arrived back at the hotel, Ian Flack gave him a nudge or push - depending on who you listen to - and the Buddha smashed. Not only did it smash, it cut Maynard’s finger!

Deducted points for the Buddha smash, combined with some latecomers first thing this morning from the Chopsticks team meant crisis talks could be emerging.
But the overriding theme of the morning was that about 20 of the touring party had taken ill - including Dr Andrew Daff.

Among those who had caught the gastro bug were included Joel Macdonald, Scott West, Debbie Lee, Martin Cox, David Chippindall, Ryan Larkin, Glenn Balmforth and Amy Stubbs. Yours truly was also not exempt.

Following breakfast, which was minimal for some of the touring party, a brief Tai Chi boxing lesson was held, before three buses departed Moganshan from 9.30am.

The buses split up into their respective teams and headed Xitang for lunch.

There, the groups wandered around, before undertaking an authentic and non-westernised Chinese meal.

Of those who weren’t ill - and were prepared to dig in - there was copious amounts of food. But perhaps the duck head, which reared from underneath the wanton soup - and startled some of members of the members of the group, gained the most attention.

Not every dining table had this head, although photos were quickly taken for prosperity.

From Xitang, the journey continued into Shanghai.

We arrived in Shanghai, the cosmopolitan face of modern China and consisting of a population of 18 million, at around 4.00pm.

After checking in at Le Royal Meridien, featuring outstanding views across the city, the group headed out to Lost Heaven - for a pre-dinner drink and Yunnan cuisine at a Thai and Burmese-influenced restaurant.

A few new arrivals had joined the group, including club legend Robert Flower, list manager Tim Harrington, who was delayed due to trade week and leader Brent Moloney, who had been to a wedding in Bali.

The Chopsticks debacle had been highlighted over dinner, with the leading group now coming third. The Suns were now in front.

Still, Maynard had bounced back with a new Buddha, purchasing one in Shanghai for $120! (Some believe he could’ve purchased one of similar style for just $12).

As the day was recapped, Lynden Dunn again got the masses laughing when he led the Suns’ song, Connolly held court and the night was again full of fun.