Warnings in October 2008

I was in Shanghai last month. I’ve got to admit. It’s a rolling place. Things are happening. Yeah, I know. The pollution, the traffic, the green-less expanses, they all suck. But the food, the drinks, the events, the art, the international communities, the Shanghai dialect. They all rock. We went to Shanghai to put MORE Hangzhou magazine on exhibit at the Shanghai Expat Show. We met loads of people and gave Hangzhou a bit of promo. It was tiring. I had to smile a lot more than usual. My cheeks kind of got sore. Of course we had to go out after the show was done each night. How can anyone go to Shanghai and not go out? That’s what it’s all about. On the first night, I was given the right to choose where we would eat. Me, the magazine man, I was supposed to know how to find a great place. Ha! The review in the That’s Shanghai looked good. The picture was attractive. The place sucked. I hung my head in shame. Of course, it couldn’t have been a deceptive review, now could it have been? No, it was me, but nothing dulls the sting of poor decision making like a nice refreshing libation, so we headed to the Bund.

Before going there, I had read a short piece by the owner of M on the Bund. She got me itching to get towards the water. She was right, it really used to be a dull stretch of historic nostalgia. Night time used to be a little spooky. When I first visited the Bund, the only thing across the river in Pudong was the PearlTower. I hadn’t been there in quite some time. Now things are different. As we came around on the overpass, the city lit up. A huge moon hung in between the JinmaoTower, and the newly completed GlobalFinancialTower—the former castle-like, the latter like a sharp knife. The moon almost looked like their prey. We got to Laris for their infamous martini night. It was swanky. The wood floor was old. It wasn’t falsely made to look old. I don’t have much cash, but the 70RMB lemon grass vodka martini seemed cheap compared to what I was getting visually not to mention the soulful drink. Unfortunately, the table we were at was reserved. We headed upstairs to Glamour Bar. I’m used to drinking in places where it’s alright to ash my cigarette on the floor. All of Pudong, in its skyscrapered, neon and LED lit glory sat outside the big windows next to us. Now I’m not saying the world has to be one big Glamour Bar, but it was something impressive. When I used to think of the Bund, I used to imagine what used to go on in the 1920’s. Now when I think of it, I think about what happened last night. Hangzhou is no Shanghai, and it never will be. You don’t need me to tell you that, but some people have done some really amazing things over there. So many things to do…

By Tim Hoerle