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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Entertaining friends

If I haven't posted anything here recently, it's for a good reason: last week we had the great pleasure of playing hosts to our friends Barbara and Jeff, who visited us here in Shànghăi 上海 from their home in Leuven, Belgium. During the nine days they spent with us, we took them to see and experience some of the sights and sounds of the city, including having tea at the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse 湖心亭 (one of China's most famous), next to the entrance to the Yùyuán Gardens 豫园...:

...checking out the over-the-top (and overpriced) Jìng'ān Temple 静安寺...:

...and, of course, taking an evening cruise on the Huángpŭ River 黄浦江 to soak in the night views of the Bund 外滩 on one side and of the highrises of Pŭdōng 浦东 on the other:

Their visit also gave us the opportunity to do some things we hadn't yet gotten around to doing. One such activity was to finally listen to the Old Jazz Band at the Bund's legendary Fairmont Peace Hotel (formerly the Cathay back in the days of the International Settlement) while drinking cocktails, an experience that Barbara likened to being back in the British Empire...:

...and to which I toasted "God Save the Queen" (or "King", as it would've been back then) in true Noel Coward fashion, with the Peace Hotel's signature Shanghai Cocktail:

Last Tuesday, we drove over to M50 M50创意产业集聚区, a collection of galleries housed in an abandoned warehouse complex:

By far the best exhibit was "Casual Remark and Graphic Language", with its biting satirical speculation on how Léi Fēng 雷锋 might be presented were he around in today's China: 

Resistance proved futile in the studio showcasing Wén Xiāng's  聞香 photographs of old Shanghai, as I ended up purchasing a print and a pillow...:

...whereas my wife was taken by the works of an artist calling himself Sànzi 散子, eschewing her usual frugality to purchase a book of his prints:

All of the contemporary art galleries we went into were interesting, however, and it might be worth another excursion out to Mògānshān Road 莫干山路 before we leave the city in July:

And thanks to Barbara and Jeff we also checked off another of our Shanghai bucket list items by taking in the show put on by the Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe at the Shanghai Center Theater 上海商成剧院. The performance is short, but a lot of fun and well worth seeing, as my daughter would happily attest to:

Whether it was dining at trendy vegetarian restaurants, eyeing the next generation of  "dancing aunties"-in-training going through the motions in Xiāngyáng Park 襄阳公园...:

...or seeing the real thing in Qibao 七宝...:

...whether downing far too many cocktails at cool Japanese bars (to which I was also guilty of doing), or just relaxing at our home, drinking dark Tsingtao Beers while watching Chinese and Taiwanese opera on DVD's, it seemed our friends enjoyed their brief visit to China. Amber, Pamela and I are looking forward to meeting up with them again next year when we will find ourselves on the same continent again.


  1. Looks like you guys had a great time! You should have taken them to the giant toxic lake! I'm still having nightmares about that :)

    1. I think the smog in Chengdu was enough for them!