Well, finally after a day of assisting the engineers in the office I was treated to dinner by the head of Design in the French Concession of Shanghai. This is one gorgeous eminantly liveable city, and a step change from the previous night of rain and darkness followed by strange hotel and day staring at concrete.
Shanghai is astonishing.
The food was good with my client and I managed to spend the whole one and a half hours talking Chinese (though I was the one drinking the beer). Quite an achievement I think, and I am pretty pleased. Easily my longest Chinese conversation yet, but I am still stumbling when I come across areas of grammar or vocabulary that is beyond my reach.
He dropped me off to meet Klara and her friends after some considerable searching, though it must be remembered he is Taiwanese. A second meal, some beers, a tour of her apartment and onto downtown. Wow. This is like Taiwan in an alternative future. Did I say ‘astonishing’ already? The vertical scale of New York but more space. And then you hit the Bund which is the main main road in Shanghai by the river. This has been more or less in my imagination for the last few years and here it is. It’s Liverpool … but Birkenhead has been been abducted by Aliens!
Klara and I went to check out the uber-chic Rouge Bar on the roof of one of the previous embassies. Well-heeled cosomopolitan people ordered Cosmopolitans under the gaze of one of the most ridiculous city views in the world. The feeling is entirely unlike Taipei, or Hong Kong for that matter. The French that apparently make up the greatest proportion of the ex-pat community bringing a certain je ne sais quois to the proceedings. Or maybe it was the cocktails.
Whatever. I am convinced, and looking forward to finishing work tomorrow to see more!
Pudong Missile Launch Pad
Riverpool by night – The Brits got the best camp when dividing up land amongst each of the ‘Concessions’