Back in the Jing after a fantastic trip to Shanghai last week.
Soon after we boarded the train to Shanghai, team Denmark showed the rest how it’s done and whipped out some Mumm champagne and Skyy vodka to make the 14 h hard sleeper journey a little more chipper and to kick off the birthday celebrations of Ali and myself. In the end, the train ride was a hoot and a half, and surprisingly comfortable. It felt very old school glamour to have champagne in our very own compartment. Well, at least it was very old school glamour until someone threw up on the wall. No names mentioned, but the person has blue hair and comes from the Emerald Island of Leprechauns. Ehe…
We arrived in a rainy Shanghai the day after and were immediately struck by impressions completely different from Beijing. First of all, it was warm in Shanghai! Not summer-warm by any means, but very comfortable for autumn weather. Secondly, Shanghai has avenues and space to move. Beijing is full of narrow alleyways and it is next to impossible walking down a street without literally bumping into people. It didn’t take long until everyone of us 14 travelers from Beijing fell in love with that new huge city. After living in Da Xue under extremely basic circumstance where we have had to renounce many of the most basic amenities, Shanghai- with its incandescent skyscrapers, waters and top notch entertainment scene- seemed to us like the Promised Land.
Of course, there were some kick-ass factors which helped give this impression:
Mr. Pancake house supplied us with the best possible brunch on a couple of occasions; JENNIFER LOPEZ put on SUCH A FUCKING SHOW (I’m telling you, Jenny is worth all the rocks that she’s got!); clubbing at MINT (the place with the shark- aquarium I’ve heard so much about, even in Beijing) was epic; the Mario Testino- exhibition was everything my pop-culture craving heart desired at that moment, and cocktails in the Bottle Opener (Shanghai’s tallest skyscraper which hosts the world’s highest bar and restaurant from the ground) were appropriately sophisticated and delicious after an intense week. It is safe to say that I had one of the coolest birthdays in that city! (Thank you so much, dear friends and family for your messages and your calls 😀 You know you d’ bestest)
And not to forget: Seeing Elina and Axel was grrrrand! It’s almost mind-boggling to think that last time I saw them was on home turf in Höllviken, where we discussed our respective moves to China and how we could meet up there. And all of a sudden, we were sitting there, chatting away over mango-banana smoothies in Shanghai! Amazing.
Shanghai seemed to us westerners like the perfect mix of China + Paris+ New York. Many of us had not really thought that much of home before going to Shanghai, but after getting that taste of western culture and seeing the novelty holiday beverages at Costa and Starbucks which reminded us that Christmas is coming, I think quite a few of us got a little homesick. There was definite depression going on after coming back to gruesomely cold Beijing where way too much school work waited.
Shanghai, I’m not done with you. I’ll be back.