Twelve Highlights

Nicholas Quirke was feeling very lucky on 9 January 2021 when he breezed through another meeting with the Exit /Entry visa office to extend his permission to stay. He had taken Peng with him as he had learned that if he revoked his visa he could potentially get 2 months permission and as this took him to March he thought it could be worth attempting. After some discussion with the representative he decided to stick to a one month request as there was no guarantee he would get 60 days and he would have no visa. It had been worth clarifying and he appreciated the honesty of the officer. He had been granted another month and would be in China for the foreseeable future. They were going to an exhibition ‘For The Future’ in Dongsi at the privately owned and impressive Guardian Gallery. It featured the twelve highlights from work of a Chinese graphic artist and designer Zhang Guangyu who had many accomplishments from designing covers for Shanghai Cartoons from 1928, producing the famous anti-Guomindang cartoon series Journey to the West to chief among his achievements the creation of the animated ‘Monkey King’. The exhibition was interactive and not only did he get to have 48 poses himself but held an animated figure and on a lucky streak won 2nd prize on a spin of the wheel of fortune. Typically he had to spend 500 yuan to claim his reward! A brand new Vegan restaurant had opened nearby and though Nicholas was only eating raw food they went along to see what was on offer. It was a new style burger bar where everything was plant based. They were made to feel very welcome and while Peng got to sample the menu Nicholas made do with his own salad. He was compensated though as after a long chat with the proprietor and her beagle ‘Peanut’ he was given a complimentary raw vegan desert. The restaurant was very close to the bookstore and tea rooms they had discovered on Christmas Day and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in there. There was a very pleasant surprise waiting for him at home with the arrival of a Christmas card from his brother and Birthday card and Christmas card, signed by the whole of his cousin Steve’s family in Chinese. They watched the brilliant, bleak and heartbreaking ‘Pieces of a Woman’ in which the luminous Ellen Burstyn proved she could still steal the limelight. Savouring the accomplishments of the days he retired early to bed and a good nights sleep in preparation for his teaching in the morning.

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