When we flew to Shanghai in 1975, it had been years since my last visit. Things had changed, but the hotel I remembered on Bubbling Well Road was still there. It was now called the Peace Hotel, no longer the chic and fashionable Cathay.

The lobby was devoid of thick carpets, uniformed staff and string music at teatime. A large packing crate on its side on the bare, concrete floor served as the reservation desk.

I shuddered, but when we were shown to our room, the past returned. By just the good fortune of timing, Lulu and I had been given a suite overlooking the Bund and the Whangpoo River instead of a hospital ward as in Beijing.

After three enjoyable days we had checked out and were heading for the airport. The standard crowd surrounded us and the taxi.

As we pulled away from the curb, our room boy ran out of the hotel and chased us. He was frantically waving something.

Lulu had forgotten a pair of her panties. The Chinese roared with laughter.