16th February 2016

I’ve just returned from a week in Wuhan to see my good friend Hamid. He’s just graduated with a Master’s in Surgery there. Any Prostate problems, he’s your man.  I met him in Zhuhai when I did my TEFL certificate, an Afghan with a remarkably well developed sense of humour which is just as well ! Chinese people, as with most people in the West perhaps, associate Afghanistan with Terrorism and trouble. True of course but not the whole truth. 

Wuhan has a remarkable history. Occupied by the Japanese between 1937 and 1944, it was bombed by the Americans towards the end of the War. It perhaps has a claim to be China’s Dresden, you can still see the results of the bombing if you look carefully. Anyway, enough of the History…..

I stayed at an IBIS Hotel, it’s a French chain. I stayed in one once near Heathrow and was amused to note that the curtains were the same pattern. Hamid and I met up and of course fancied a night on the Town. So we consulted my *Lonely planet Guide* and took a taxi to the area that sells the best street food. The taxi driver dropped us off at a quiet corner. We looked around and saw two rather desolate restaurants and nothing else. Hmmmm. It IS Spring Festival but maybe he’s dropped us off at the wrong place. Hamid and I know one another well now. We’ve been on many nights out together. At this point we always purchase a tiny bottle of the National Hooch, Baijou. We drank it and decided what to do. Hamid was convinced that we’d been dropped off at the wrong place and if we walked THAT way for about 20 minutes we’d get there. I was sceptical. 

Then our Angel, Serendipity, arrived. It was a middle aged man in a crash helmet driving a motorcycle. Well I say a motorcycle. It was a drastically underpowered electric bicycle. He knew where we wanted to go and indeed he’d take us there for 15¥. Hamid bargained him down to 10¥ and we got on. Both of us. I would never have done this if it wasn’t for the effect of the Baijou. It was a remarkably smooth ride until Hamid put his hands round my neck. He wanted a selfie……!!