Greetings from Shanghai!
Well, what more can I say about March 14th? Read on. . . .
When Mike and I decided to move to Shanghai, I really thought we'd not be hanging out celebrating our wedding anniversary like we used to do. Boy, was I wrong. This year turned out to be one of the best yet.
Sure, we've been to New York for the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade which was chilly and very long but very exciting.
We've spent most of the last 30 years at the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade. Some years spent on the Boulevard of the Allies just down the street from Froggy Morris's place. Last year we spent St. Patrick's Day Parade with Kate in Market Square and fighting for a rest room at Wendy's on Fifth Avenue. Then onto a fabulous family dinner at Nora and Amy's with great friends and family. I love having dinner with that group!
So this year we were not expecting too much. Boy, was I wrong!
Last September we joined LeCheile, the Irish Community in Shanghai. We went to a fabulous Bar B Q at O'Malley's Irish Pub in September where Denice learned how to play the harmonica - move over Mr. Slaman.
As time went on, we realized that we just had to attend the St. Patrick's Day Ball - I mean, after all - it has been 30 years since our wedding in Beaver, PA and the reason we chose St. Patrick's Day was because; well, we didn't want to forget that day and beside we always wanted to share the day with friends and make it an important one for everyone.
So we volunteered to serve on The Committee for this year's Shanghai St. Patrick's Day parade. What an experience we had - so much fun. We met so many interesting people from all walks of life.
Mike was almost St. Patrick - yes, a promotion from The Pope to St. Patrick but alas; it was not to be. There was an Irish gentleman who showed up with a real beard and he looked quite remarkable - no crozier though. Mike ended up holding the Parade Banner at the beginning of the parade with Sandy and getting sunburned - he's still peeling! He doesn't care - it was great. He so enjoyed the entire experience. Who knew the sun would shine through the pollution this early in the year.
I was a Parade Marshall with a florescent green vest along the parade route but no one in the crowd listened to me anyway - they didn't speak English! And there were no police barricades. You see, there aren't many parades in Shanghai. The organizing committee had to secure clearance from the local governmental jurisdiction and well, there just aren't many parades here. The streets are so crowded with cars and bicycles and motorcycles that a parade just doesn't seem to work. BUT, the Irish never let a small thing like that deter them.
Denice and Elise - the little Italian and Belgium girls painted shamrocks and tri-colors on many many faces. Margaret, Tom and Linda came to lend their support and the parade stepped off. We even met a lovely Irish lass from Pittsburgh - Miss Caitlin who brought Mr. Donut donuts and I ate one for breakfast and they tasted just like the ones back home. SWEEEEEEEETTTTT!
We marched about 6 city blocks in the French Concession up a pedestrian street (sometimes - I have seen cars drive on that street) to a stage where they had an Irish Band flown in from Ireland - a very cute piper who piped the entire route - many Irish organizations - a group of Chinese "alumni" who had traveled to Ireland to attend school in many Irish universities - an Irish "football" league - a Chinese marching band - a Leprechaun, Chinese stilt walkers and clowns - two (2) GREEN Chinese dragons - the consul general of the Irish Republic - all told - about 750 planned marchers. But in the end - there were really many many people who marched in the parade and quite a few of them were Chinese. Why, people were hanging out the windows at Pizza Hut. A good time was had by all.
At the stage - the Irish Community's children performed for the throngs of people and they were absolutely adorable. There were young ladies with painted nails and green hair and green hats of many different shades.
The t-shirts went like hot cakes. The meat pies went like hot cakes. The Murphy's Stout went like water. The Murphy's girls were quite beautiful (just in case you want to know for future reference).
My most memorable experience was the Chinese river dancers. I could not believe how well they danced - their costumes were beautiful and well, the band flown in from Ireland was top notch.
Then we had to make a mad dash to The Blarney Stone with some Shama friends for lunch because God knew when we'd eat later that night at the Ball.
Then I had to run and get my hair washed and blown dry - it cost me about $6 - totally amazing.
Then Cinderella and her Prince Charming were off - read the next post.