This was an event of such epic proportions that it gets a post all of its own. Our Irish friend Patrick, who teaches at another campus of our University downtown got 8 invitations for foreigners to come to a FREE Xmas Dinner at the five star Wonderland Hotel in Lin’an. This hotel is about 10 minutes by car from our University but located on the Lake front and is apparently where the very rich of the town go to spend Xmas. The hotel sent its own private bus to pick us up and return us safely home. For this we were required to each sing a Christmas song. Danny and I rehearsed Halleluia by Gali Atari all week,as Patrick,who has been to this event 3 times before, assured us that the guests would not be aware if we were singing in Hebrew or in English. On arrival at the hotel at about 4.30pm we were shepherded past a large model snowman and various decorations,and a guard of honour composed of liveried waiters and waitresses with Santa hats,to a huge dining area full of every possible kind of food. There was a Chinese food buffet, a Western main course buffet, salad bar and Dessert buffet. Another table had soft drinks and tea and coffee and yet another with alcohol, the only item which was NOT free of charge.We immediately loaded our plates and tucked in. The manager came up and shook us warmly by the hand and thanked us for obliging. We listened to two Chinese girls dressed in white robes playing Xmas songs on the White grand piano.Then a choir of white robed maidens lip synced to Xmas carols.Finally it was our turn to sing our songs which went off reasonably well. After that there was a raffle- the lucky rich winners got an Ipad 2 and a 5 day holiday in Korea (we speculated as to whether it was to attend the Funeral of Kim Jong il or the Other Korea).
WE were then presented with gifts -some kind of plastic toy that whirrs around and lights up,and Chocolate Santa Claus figures.At around 8.30 pm we were escorted back home in the Hotel Bus full and very amused.