Shanghai : Why I said ‘Goodbye’ / Why you should say ‘Hello’

imageShanghai was never supposed to happen. My GF and I had ‘planned’ to travel to Japan taking an overland route from Singapore, but along the way we had too much fun/spent too much money/took the long way round…basically ran out of all our baht, dollars, dong and riel, and were only left with enough Chinese yuan to tide us over for three days in Shanghai. As a last desperate attempt to keep on the road we decided to throw ourselves to the mercy of headhunters (the city type) and get ourselves that dreaded three letter word, a J-O-B.

Working in Shanghai

A city of 25 million plus, with a GDP still accelerating at warp speed, the opportunities to work are plentiful. Getting a job is easy if you can (1) speak English and (2) smile. You don’t necessarily need to be a fluent English speaker,  for a Hungarian friend of mine’s English ability was mama-huhu (meaning ‘average’, literal translation ‘horse horse-tiger tiger’ but that’s Chinese for you). With only a basic grasp of some English nursery rhymes, she got employed and was more than happy to pass this knowledge on to Shanghainese 8 year olds. So, if you hear little kids singing ‘baa baa black shit’ along the Bund, they are not being facetious, blame my friend.

This was the problem. I got sick and tired of being offered jobs when in Shanghai. Nick can you : Sell wine, be an extra in a commercial, teach English, coach tennis, be a captain at a summer camp, be in a game show, swim instructor, teach English, become a dj, be a ‘host’ at a wealthy women’s party (which my friend did, I’ll leave that story for another blog), import beef, export anything, teach English. Nobody got that I am alwaysonholidays, I had to say goodbye.

Champagne Brunch

I don’t drink anymore, but I don’t drink any less. Champagne brunch is the way to spend a Sunday in Shanghai. Great for when friends are in town, or when it’s wet/cold/polluted or even when it’s not. There are lots of brunches on offer and I did them ALL. The best bubbles for your buck is at ‘YeShanghai’ in Xintiandi. I never once saw a review anywhere about their deal, completely  under the radar, you’ll have to thank nickisalwaysonholidays for this one. It’s not the Waldorf, with free flow caviar washed down by a bottomless well of Pierre-Joulet, nor does it have the operatic singers of the Westin, but it is a fifth of the price and serves Shanghainese style dim-sum, and when they run out of bubbles, bottles of plonk are plonked on your table. So thank you very much for your hospitality, Ye Shanghai and all the rest, but enough is enough  and I’m sorry to say that I’ll need to decline the next round(s), please excuse me for all my mess, I’ll be recommending you to all my friends. Enjoy.

Dada

Not the avant-grade art movement of the early 20th century, but the dive bar at the end of the night. In Shanghai Dada is also used as an explanation of a mood, for example when your colleague looks like crap and you ask about their well being, ‘Dada’ would be an appropriate answer. What ‘Dada’ actual involves would be something along the lines of Bund dining, (Mr&Mrs if you please), followed by a jazz club (JZ or Cotton Club being the picks since Theo Crocker left the Peace Hotel), a cocktail emporium or two (another blog), at least one boogie at a  Chines mega-club, the ubiquitous beer outside a 24hr mini-mart, followed by a wander up and down Xingfu Road hoping a random taxi will take you home before, ‘shit’ you found the door and you’ve been sucked inside Dada. Hopefully it will be a ‘papasuda’ night and dj Sahl will be spinning. Say ‘Hello’ from me and you can have shots at the booth, I won’t be needing them. Xiao xin (another Chinese lesson, this means ‘be careful’ and I mean it).

Enjoy your time with the ‘Whore of the Orient’, ‘Paris of the East’ and give her my regards. I’ll be back….

n

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