It was a beautiful day. On the night previous to the Shanghai Expat Show’s opening it was raining, and we were quite unexcited in being caught in the middle of the city without an umbrella and without a taxi. But this was the opening day and the weather cleared up just fine. There was actually a cool breeze blowing through town. And did we need it because the atmosphere inside the expo center was heating up. We got there late on the set up day, so we were at the mercy of the installers. They knew we had to get our banners mounted and put up in no time, and they were squeezing as much as they could out of us. They started at an astronomically high (1,800RMB) just to put up three banners. Eventually we got them down to a somewhat reasonable (800RMB), and when they finally got them up a couple of hours later, we were quite satisfied with the look of our booth. We got a couple of freshly made double espressos (10RMB/cup), and were ready to plaster those smiles on our faces for the incoming crowds. It wasn’t that bad, we had plenty of people who were interested in our magazines come by, and that’s always a nice thing to experience, but the end of the first day was anticipated needless to say.
We got back to our hotel rooms (201RMB/night) had a quick rest and then were off to Franck’s, and the food and the service were simply stellar (1,580RMB/dinner for three). Hey I said that if I don’t get paid to do this job each and every month, I might as well take advantage of some opportunity to write something off on the magazine, so the price was more than manageable. Then it was off to Cantina Agave for some outdoor Margaritas (1,000RMB/five pitchers). The rest of the second night is a bit of a blur to be honest, but I do remember that my partner got home earlier than I did, and that she got to the show the second day earlier than I did, and when I got there eventually, there were eight shengjianbaos (4RMB) waiting for me. How anyone can not eat these things is a mystery to me. They are the perfect hangover killer, and at .5RMB per piece why not? Then after another long day, we wound up at Casa 13 for another superb dinner (1,280RMB/ dinner for three). And then we got to Mint (90RMB/cocktail) in the end after a quick stop at The Velvet Lounge (45RMB/bottle of beer). It was certainly good to see more than a few familiar faces in each spot we went to. Small globe we are on indeed. And finally after the third day at the show, we finished by eating a dinner for two (5RMB) at a little roadside joint. That’s right we paid 5RMB for a dinner for two, and we were more than satisfied. It was Shanghai. What more can be said?
By Tim Hoerle