Monday, October 04, 2010

Shanghai homecoming

The firewalls are high in China - so high that this post is being emailed to my friend Kate for posting. I'm used to not being able to read my blog in China - now I can't write it either. Neither can I use Facebook or Twitter. I suspect the regime got twitchy about Twitter after events in Iran. So those who follow Border Crossings, think of this as a clandestine despatch.

We've arrived here on planes from London, Bangalore and Gothenburg over the last couple of days, to be met by the smiling Tracy Lu (our SDAC project manager) and the vista of a city in the grip of Expo 2010. We drove past the Expo park on our way in from the airport - it's space age and packed to bursting. The Expo label is on our publicity, together with that of Starbucks (with a certain irony!). SDAC have been very clever. The poster has layers of photos from the show, rendered into psychedelic colours - so it's much more clearly aimed at a younger audience than our London one was. Lesson for the future.

Earlier in the week, I was thinking we were never going to get here. The shipping company Lloyd had asked to deal with our set freight turned out to be totally incompetent. I name no names..... but having taken the set to Heathrow on Sunday, it was fairly horrific to discover on Tuesday that it was still there, and that there was no prospect of it entering Shanghai for "several weeks". Lloyd and I drove to Heathrow on Wednesday, picked it up, demanded a full refund, and re-wrapped it so we could take it on the plane with us. We pitched up as a group of seven, with our cases, several rolls of mirrored dance floor, two long drapes and various cases of props. Amazingly, China Eastern Airlines were fine about the whole thing - as were Chinese customs. And with a huge sigh of relief we walked out into the Shanghai sunshine.

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