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How the Shanghainese celebrate the World Cup Pt1

CHINA | Thursday, 3 July 2014 | Views [497]

WORLD CUP PARTY!!! My aunt shouted at me in Shanghai, brandishing out 2 festively bright green and yellow tickets. I wasn't sure what a sports 'party' in Shanghai entailed yet, but I was always keen for a night out, so I excitedly agreed to hop along to this event with my aunt that was to be held at the Shanghai Olympic Hotel on the 28th/29th June (games start at midnight on here in China).

My aunt was visibly the most excited out of the two of us- I think she kept trying to sell the event to me even though I had long ago enthused about going. I now conclude that if there was a Worst Salesperson of the Century Award, she would decisively reign victorious in receiving it. 'There's going to be a BBQ, Amy!' she would often say to me, sometimes whilst watching the world cup, sometimes just over dinner. When she first showed me the tickets, her main selling point would be​


‘There’s dinner and drinks provided'

Followed by

‘They’re going to cook meats on the grill’

And then she lowered her voice and looked me straight in the eye

‘There’s going to be a BBQ’

I didn’t ask how she acquired these tickets, but I suspect it all started with her muttering in the office ‘Man of man I’m craving some BBQ’.


So on the night of the 28th, we pack our bags of PJs and toiletries and loads of mozzie repellent, and we head off to the Shanghai Olympic Hotel.

At this point, I’m expecting a classic “World Cup Celebration party”, quotation marks deliberate, in the style of a grotty bar, plenty of drinks a-flowing, loud projector screens showing the game at the end of the room, sticky floor tiles and maybe a grill in the corner cooking up some beef patties and hot dogs with onions and white bread. And I would most definitely be perfectly at home there- BBQ & mustard please and don’t give me the ‘butt’ ends of the bread loaf.


However what we walked into, once we had checked into our ​rooms with the 2 king sized beds (!!!!!) and had given in our tickets, was the Shanghai Olympic beer garden hosting a posh picnic style tea-party with a completely decked out DJ set, performance stage and a TV screen the size of 2-storey house. Round tables in thick maroon tablecloths, with white covered chairs tied with matching maroon sashes were scattered around the grassy garden.

We arrived at 10pm for the game to start at midnight, with the only guiding light from the glare of the TV screen and what looked to be kilometers of fairy lights everywhere assisting us to table Number 8. My aunt wasn’t kidding. There was abundant food and drinks: plates of flavoured peanuts and broadbeans, chips and caramelized popcorn were freely refillable, and the buffet provided a mix of fresh fruit plates, wontons, burgers and oily, fried potatoes in all sorts of glorious shapes and sizes. The beer stand attendents was happily handing out mugs and jugs of beer.

The performance stage lay hosts to an eclectic mix of a couple of dances followed by a couple of talk shows relating somehow to the World Cup. Again, being fluent in Mandarin would've been a huge help but that's okay, it was interesting watching the talk show hosts trying to rally up the audience (us) into downloading the app to bet live on the game- any restrictions at all on lottery and gambling advertising in China seem to be next to non-existent. Maybe we Tom Waterhouse should think about expanding his business here. 

Stayed tuned for pt2 coming soon!

Tags: bbq, excess, fifa, football, garden party, theres going to be a bbq

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